Don't let the revolving door hit you on the way out
by desmoinesdem, Fri Sep 25, 2009 at 05:31:50 PM EDT
It used to be that lawmakers were coy about any ideas they had about heading for K Street, waiting until their terms ended before announcing they were beginning a more lucrative career.
But in recent years, members of Congress planning to become lobbyists have not been able to wait. In fact, when Florida Republican Mel Martinez this week accepted a position with the mega-lobbying and law firm DLA Piper -- less than two weeks after resigning from the Senate -- it brought to five the number of former lawmakers since 2007 who have abandoned their constituents midterm and almost immediately resurfaced with lobbying firms, according to data provided by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.
The other four are Democrat Al Wynn, who lost the 2008 primary to Donna Edwards in MD-04, and Republicans Dennis Hastert (IL-14), Richard Baker (LA-06) and Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi.
Martinez met with folks from DLA before he formally stepped down from the Senate but stressed that the firm extended "no financial terms, no offer, no details" to Martinez until after he resigned Sept. 9.
"We didn't have any discussions with him until he decided to leave the Senate, and we didn't conduct any negotiations with him of any sort until he had left the Senate," said John Merrigan, a DLA partner. [...]
Martinez, who is barred from lobbying his former colleagues for two years, will advise clients on government affairs, litigation, financial services, real estate, energy, defense, infrastructure development and other matters, according to a DLA press release announcing his arrival. [...]
According to the firm, DLA has an office in Tampa, and Martinez will spend the bulk of his time working from Florida.
Sounds like more fun than being in the 40-member Republican Senate caucus, and it's certainly a lot more lucrative.