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Posts Tagged ‘revolving door’

We’ve said time and again that the revolving door between the federal government and the industries they work with is spinning out of control. Well, between the government and the oil and gas industry, it’s spinning even crazier than ever.

The Washington Post wrote today that three out of every four — that’s right, 75 percent — oil and gas lobbyists worked for the federal government before switching over to the industry side of things.

Key lobbying hires include 18 former members of Congress and dozens of former presidential appointees. For other senior management positions, the industry employs two former directors of the Minerals Management Service, the since-renamed agency that regulates the industry, and several top officials from the Bush White House. Federal inspectors once assigned to monitor oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico have landed jobs with the companies they regulated.

Looking at BP’s lobbyists alone, 71 percent previously worked for the federal government, according to data released in June by Public Citizen and the Center for Responsive Politics.

No wonder there was such a cozy relationship that Big Oil was able to manipulate the former Minerals and Management Service (MMS) into getting just what they want: lax regulation.

Although it seems to be the worst with the oil and gas industry, it tends to be a trend among others, as well. The Center for Responsive Politics found that fewer than one in three registered lobbyists in 2009 had revolving door connections — less than half the oil industry rate.

Currently, 12 senators and 35 representatives are not seeking re-election to their current offices. Where will they work next? Help us make sure they don’t head for the private-sector industry they’ve already gotten to know so well.

Sign Public Citizen’s petition to stop the revolving door between government and industry.

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The army of “revolving door” lobbyists bidding for the financial services industry is even larger that we thought. After combing through Senate lobbying disclosure records, we reported in November that at least 940 lobbyists in the financial services sector.

This week, we partnered with the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) on an update to that report that included data from CRP’s in-house revolving doors database (catching lobbyists who do not report to their employment histories on their lobbying disclosure forms) as well as Senate records showing an additional two reporting quarters.

The result: At least 1,447 of the lobbyists employed by the financial services sector since 2009 previously held a government job. That is nearly 56 percent of the 2,603 lobbyists, all told, who worked for the sector in the time period.

Among these “revolving doors” are 73 former (more…)

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As financial reform hits the Senate floor this week, retiring lawmakers might be tempted to finagle their private-sector jobs in the midst of negotiations. But if these soon-to-be-former senators are arranging their cushy lobbying jobs for the financial sector, how tough are they really going to be on the Wall Street giants that pushed us into this economic crisis?

Public Citizen sent letters to the 47 retiring lawmakers yesterday, urging them to resist lucrative corner-office deals that would cash in on their congressional clout.

Public Citizen also launched a petition drive, calling on voters to encourage retiring lawmakers to take an integrity pledge. The pledge reads:

Upon leaving Congress, I will not accept employment or a leadership position for two years with any business that lobbies, issues lobby communications, or has hired lobbyists to lobby my office, committee, or staff during my last term.

Sign the petition now and tell these members of Congress to finish out their terms without being influenced by future employment prospects.

True/Slant already has an over-under bet going on how many lawmakers will sign the pledge. How many do you think Public Citizen can get?

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With the revolving door spinning out of control and legions of former government officials and staffers trading on their government connections and knowledge to win lucrative private sector jobs as lobbyists, it is refreshing to see House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) act swiftly and decisively to stifle this abuse by his former senior staffer, Peter Roberson.

Roberson was instrumental in drafting derivatives provisions of the financial reform legislation that the House passed in December. When Roberson made the legally required disclosure to Chairman Frank that he was negotiating employment as a lobbyist with a firm in the derivatives industry, Chairman Frank removed Roberson from any further work on the committee and denied Roberson any compensation beyond what he was already owed. When Roberson left to join Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), an operator of derivatives exchanges and clearinghouses, Chairman Frank borrowed from President Obama’s rulebook and unilaterally banned contacts between Roberson and the staff of the House Financial Services Committee for as long as Frank remains chairman of the committee. President Barack Obama imposed a similar ban on former executive branch officials from ever lobbying the Obama administration.

Suddenly, the revolving door deal (more…)

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