HuffPo: Hiring the former employee of a current senator typically brings in $740,000 per year

Written by admin on September 26th, 2010

Huffington Post reports on the dollar value to lobbying firms of legislative positions.

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Huffingtonpost

To K Street firms, hiring the former employee of a current senator typically brings in $740,000 per year.

The connection itself is cash for these lobbying firms — especially when the lawmaker is still in office. A new study from the London School of Economics finds that when a U.S. senator leaves the Hill, the lobbyists who used to be his staffers make 24 percent less money for their firms. That amounts to $177,000 less per lobbyist per year.

“Jesus,” said retiring Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.). “The next year? I better tell that to my staff,” he joked. “Don’t go to K Street.”

His advice will come too late for the minimum of 20 Dodd staffers who’ve already spun through the revolving door, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. (Dodd has promised that he himself will not become a lobbyist.) Dodd was central in the 111th Congress to credit card reform, health care legislation and Wall Street reform; his former staffers were some of the most valuable assets in Washington. Next year, they’ll be worth much less.

The study, by Jordi Blanes i Vidal, Mirko Draca and Christian Fons-Rosen, also finds that lobbyists who worked in the House make 10 percent less when their former bosses hang it up, and lobbyist ex-staffers are more likely to quit lobbying when their former boss quits.

“That is a pretty striking figure,” said Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.). “It does almost sound like in the Senate the lobbyists are hired specifically to lobby their old boss. A little less so in the House, but still lobbyists are being hired to lobby people like their boss. So it makes sense the dip would be not quite as severe.”

The study puts a hard number on a phenomenon long identified as elemental to the U.S. political system. “Consistent with the notion that lobbyists sell access to powerful elected officials, the drop in revenue increases with the seniority of and committee assignments power held by the Senator immediately prior to leaving office,” the report says. “The finding that a large portion of what makes revolving door lobbyists particularly attractive is perishable has the implication that staffers may have relatively short careers. Once a connection to a powerful Senator has been established, a staffer may want to move into lobbying and cash in this unique asset while it is still valuable.”

 

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