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Government Ethics

Revolving Door Picks Up Speed

Now that about 80 former members of Congress (the ones who are not truly retired) have officially been on the job market for almost a month, it's starting to become clear the pace at which many are moving through the revolving door between governance and advocacy.

Former House members have to wait one full year, and senators two years, before they may register as lobbyists and begin making direct appeals to their one-time colleagues about the shape of legislation. But during that time they're welcome to sign on with law firms and lobbying shops to provide behind-the-scenes political intelligence, strategizing and rainmaking advice. (The House Democrats' "good government" package, HR 1, would further limit how actively former members may support the lobbying of others during their so-called cooling off periods.)

Only a relative handful of Democrats still young enough to be attractive to K Street were defeated last year. The most prominent of then, former Rep. Joe Crowley of New York, is talking to several firms, while both former Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and former Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois have taken up careers as political pundits, she on MSNBC and he on CNN.

But the progressive news site ThinkProgress is out this week with a roundup of Republicans who've recently moved out of offices on the House side of Capitol Hill and already landed new places "downtown."

Among those who gave up their seats voluntarily, Dave Reichert of Washington, who was chair of the Ways and Means subcommittee on trade, is now vice president of Gordon Thomas Honeywell Governmental Affairs. Lynn Jenkins of Kansas, who chaired the Ways and Means oversight subcommittee, has started her own lobbying shop based in Kansas.

And both Lamar Smith of Texas, a former chairman of both the Science and Judiciary committees, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, a former chairwoman of Foreign Affairs, have signed on as "senior consultants" at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.

Of the unsuccessful Senators who sought re-election, Indiana's Luke Messer has signed on with Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting while Ohio's Jim Renacci will run a political group back home advocating for pro-business causes in Columbus.

Two Pennsylvanians effectively forced out of their seats by a court-ordered redistricting have found new homes. Ryan Costello is the new managing director for Americans for Carbon Dividends, which supports a federal carbon tax. Charlie Dent, in addition to landing a CNN contract, is at DLA Piper.

Kevin Yoder of Kansas, who lost re-election while chairing the Appropriations subcommittee on homeland security, is now at Hobart Hallaway & Quayle Ventures. And just this week another November loser, Barbara Comstock of Virginia, announced she was joining Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz.

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