Friday, December 26, 2008

1of 3 Congressional Staffers Become Lobbyists

This is influence peddling plain and simple. It may be legal but it is corruption in every possible way. We have tried Government De-Regulation and it is a miserable failure.

Link

WASHINGTON — More than a third of top congressional staffers who left their public service jobs this year went to work for private lobbying firms or other groups seeking to influence the government, according to a USA TODAY analysis.

Under an ethics law passed last year, the House and Senate for the first time must list the names of departing staffers earning $127,000 or more per year. So far this year, 32 of the 193 top staffers who left government registered as lobbyists and an additional 42 went to work for consulting firms, law offices, interest groups and trade associations, the analysis showed.

Publicizing names of departing staffers gives the public notice that "they're cashing in on their expertise," says James Thurber, an American University lobbying expert.

Former congressional staffers are free to become lobbyists or otherwise work to influence the government as long as they follow ethics laws, including a cooling-off period. The new rules prohibit former Senate aides from lobbying anyone in the Senate for a year after they leave.

In the House, the one-year lobbying ban only applies to the House office or committee where the staffer worked.

Congress tightened the rules as part of a broader package of ethics proposals backed by Democratic leaders after they took control in 2007.