As a member of the U.S. Congress, one can expect to earn a substantial income of $174,000 per year – a very comfortable sum to live on. But it doesn’t stop there, now legislators are frequently using their political careers as a stepping-stone to a much larger payday upon retirement, often quintupling their income as an industry lobbyist.
Three political scientists have tracked data all the way back to 1976 to analyze the lobbying activity of former members of Congress in an eye-opening new study.
The results of the study, “Who walks through the revolving door? Examining the lobbying activity of former members of Congress,” appearing in the journal Interest Groups & Advocacy, make clear that there has been a substantial increase in the number of members becoming lobbyists after retirement.
The data indicates that in the 1970s and ’80s it was extremely rare for Congress members to go on to become lobbyists, as the pay-for-play lobbying system of today was virtually non-existent. In the 1990s, corporate America became particularly skilled at bending the will of the state away from actually representing the people and towards their own nuanced positions through the use of lobbyists — otherwise known as fascism or corporatism.
Today, there is a reported $3.2 billion dollars-per-year spent on lobbying activity, with estimates that there is actually closer to double that amount spend, as only registered lobbyists activities are disclosed.
Congress passed the Lobbying Disclosure Act in 1995 to provide more accountability and transparency, because prior to the legislation being passed the rules for registration as a lobbyist were even more lax. Even after the Lobbying Disclosure Act, many former Congress members simply choose not to register, such as former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD), but continue to engage in work virtually identical to that of a registered lobbyist.
Here are some other interesting findings contained within the study:
Retiring members are more likely to become lobbyists if they were party or committee leaders, or they were on the powerful Ways and Means Committee in the House or the Senate Finance Committee (which have authority over tax and trade policy — always popular lobbying issues). This is especially true for House members. Backbenchers are less likely to become lobbyists.
Democrats and Republicans were equally likely to go on to become lobbyists.
Very conservative Republicans were less likely to become lobbyists than moderate Republicans.
Most retiring members (78 percent in the House, and 87 percent in the Senate) who became lobbyists went to lobbying firms that represent multiple clients, rather than going in house at a company, association or other group. This makes sense, since former members generally specialize in access, which they can then sell to multiple clients.
The logic behind having former Congress members on staff at a lobbying firm is simply to allow for greater access to the internal workings of government, as these people are intimately connected within the corridors of power.
The revolving door from Congress to K Street gives influence to large corporations that can afford the considerable sums of money required by the former Congress members, evidenced by the fact that for every $1 spent by public interest groups and unions, corporations spent $34.
How to Disappear Off the Grid Completely (Ad)
These dynamics only serve to contribute to an even greater imbalance of representation in Washington, D.C. The select few with money and influence are allowed even greater access to U.S. lawmakers, while the majority of America is left virtually powerless to affect change.
Forget the politicians. The politicians are put there to give you the idea you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land, they own and control the corporations that’ve long since bought and paid for, the senate, the congress, the state houses, the city halls, they got the judges in their back pocket, and they own all the big media companies so they control just about all of the news and the information you get to hear. They got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else. But I’ll tell you what they don’t want. They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them.
― George Carlin
Jay Syrmopoulos is a political analyst, free thinker, researcher, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs. Jay’s work has been published on Ben Swann’s Truth in Media, Truth-Out, Raw Story, MintPress News, as well as many other sites. You can follow him on Twitter @sirmetropolis, on Facebook at Sir Metropolis and now on tsu.
tell it like it is – they sure would not want anyone like themselves in the hen house.
I only have one question. Since the media describes government “theft and corruption” as “waste and inefficiency”, whose bank account is the “waste and inefficiency” deposited?
We are so screwed!
This group of criminals passed the Stock Act, which forbade using insider info from committee hearings to profit from. Then a few months later, they reversed the sanctions on a rider bill, and thus made it OK to profit from insider info. What would you call that?
I call it the “standard, treasonous behavior” of members of congress. It acquires wealth for the treasonists, which they will not have access to when the U.S. system fails, and will certainly not accompany them in death.
First of all, I think it is ludicrous to say that members of Congress retire to become lobbyists. They ARE lobbyists the day they change the office curtains after election. Their first official function is to form a re-election committee for fund-raisers.
Their re-election activities could be a continuation of the activities that led to their election. Per former congress-woman, Cynthia McKinney, among their first activities is to write a paragraph pledging 1st allegiance to Israel instead of the U.S. to turn over to an AIPAC representative. If they do not, AIPAC uses its American $$ to either remove them from office or defeat them at the next election.
Defeating at the subsequent election was used in Georgia to defeat congress-woman McKinney at the subsequent election.
The prostitutes are certainly not worth their exhorbitant costs, either !
Marvelous overview and summary.
activistpost.com – or the server handling the homepage – cut my second comment to your overview. Amazing how the jewish-controlled servers suppress free speach since Nov. 2014 !