BY DAVE LEVINTHAL AND CRAIG GURIAN – The Center for Responsive Politics and public policy journal Remapping Debate have today released the first listings in an interactive tracking tool that allows the public to explore where outgoing senators and representatives from the 111th Congress are now employed.
Whether former members of Congress are now working for lobbying firms, law practices, public relations companies or other entities, this tracking tool will keep tabs.
“Powerful political leaders often are working one day on behalf of the public’s interest, and then in the next, they’re being paid handsomely to represent the goals of special interests. This warrants monitoring so that people understand how their former officials are now attempting to influence public discourse and legislation,” said Sheila Krumholz, the Center for Responsive Politics’ executive director.
Craig Gurian, the editor of Remapping Debate, added: “As important as it is to shed light on the revolving door between government and the lobbying world specifically, it is also critical to make more visible other connections of power and influence. This joint project, which looks broadly at all the interests that former members of Congress have decided to serve, will help increase public awareness of these varied connections.”
Senators may not legally become registered lobbyists for two years after they leave Congress, and House representatives are banned for one year after they leave.
But many of them have already taken steps in that direction, the Center for Responsive Politics and Remapping Debate find. So far, 13 of 19 outgoing senators from the 111th Congress have declared their post-Congress employment plans, and five of them are working in the government relations industry.
Implementation of the tracker can be found on the websites of each organization at OpenSecrets.org and RemappingDebate.org.
The tracker will be updated as more information becomes available about the outgoing members of the 111th Congress, and the Center for Responsive Politics and Remapping Debate invite colleagues and the public to help us make the tracker comprehensive.
Remapping Debate, an online public policy news journal, believes that there is a fundamental (and democracy-corroding) paradox about the media ecosystem that needs to be addressed: for all the outlets and for all the bytes, the why and why not questions of public policy are too rarely addressed. Remapping Debate seeks to address this deficiency through probing reporting that asks these questions and thereby encourages more robust public policy debate.