The New York Times reports on an unusual revolving door story; Senator to lobbyist and back to Senator. Meet Dan Coats.
Dan Coats, then a former senator and ambassador to Germany, served as co-chairman of a team of lobbyists in 2007 who worked behind the scenes to successfully block Senate legislation that would have terminated a tax loophole worth hundreds of millions of dollars in additional cash flow to Cooper Industries.
Now Mr. Coats, a Republican from Indiana, is about to make a striking transition. He is spinning the revolving door backward.
As part of the Republican wave in this year’s midterm elections, Mr. Coats will join the Senate again and is seeking a coveted spot on the Finance Committee, the same panel that tried to shut the tax loophole and that the Obama administration has pushed to again consider such a move.
There is no rule that would keep Mr. Coats from voting on issues that he handled as a lobbyist, and he does not intend to recuse himself when former clients are affected by his votes. But he has said he will not let prior connections influence him.
Mr. Coats is hardly the only former lobbyist to join Congress. The list includes Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota, and Representative Dan Lungren, Republican of California. Representative Doris Matsui of California, a Democrat, was also a lobbyist with a particularly extensive client list.
But few rival Mr. Coats, whose blue-chip list of 36 clients included corporate titans like General Electric and Google. These companies routinely have major legislative issues pending in Congress — and in the Senate Finance Committee — that Mr. Coats will now be asked to vote on, often with great consequences to their bottom line.