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Attempting to Put the Revolving Door Out of Service

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The revolving door is spinning quickly in Washington, and an alarming number of elected officials find their way into it when they leave Capitol Hill, ending up lobbying their former colleagues. There have been efforts to rein in this trend, by lengthening the cooling off period or limiting benefits if a former Member of Congress receives compensation for lobbying efforts, but none has gained much traction. (Currently, the law requires former Members of Congress to adhere to a one-year cooling off period and a two-year cooling off period, respectively.) POGO has long advocated for changes to laws that allow the revolving door to swing so swiftly in DC, primarily focusing on the financial and defense sectors; however, we are greatly concerned about the congressional revolving door as well.

Representative Rod Blum (R-IA) introduced his first bill last week, the No Golden Parachutes for Public Service Act (H.R.1740), which would put a lifetime ban on former Members of Congress working as lobbyists after their tenure of office ends. The accompanying press release states:

"I firmly believe that the privilege of serving your constituents should be reward enough for Members of Congress,” said Blum. “This bill would finally close the revolving door between Congress and special interest groups, restoring integrity to our political system and ensuring that politicians focus on representing their constituents instead of catering to lobbying groups who offer a lucrative post-electoral career."

This bill is certainly the strongest anti-revolving door bill that has been introduced, and it speaks to the growing dissatisfaction with the idea that elected or appointed officials can trade in on their government service for a leg up in the private sector.

By: Elizabeth "Liz" Hempowicz
Policy Counsel, POGO

Photograph of Elizabeth Liz Hempowicz is Policy Counsel for the Project On Government Oversight.

Topics: Government Accountability

Related Content: Congressional Oversight, Revolving Door

Authors: Elizabeth "Liz" Hempowicz

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