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Members of Congress Take Lobbyist Jobs Paying as Much as $4 Million


WVK

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The revolving door in Washington is perhaps the most pernicious form of corruption. It is illegal for incumbents to receive direct financial rewards from the interest groups that lobby them daily. But financial rewards are often delayed until retirement. While serving, members angle for high-paid private sector positions, trading favors and votes for a future career after working as an elected official. A member of Congress earning a $174,000 salary can multiply that by retiring and taking a position with a lobbying firm or corporate interest.

In other words, a powerful incentive keeping many lawmakers loyal to special interest groups is the hope of one day swapping roles. 

The influence-peddling world is filled with scores of former lawmakers. However, few disclose how much they earn in the private sector. Over a decade ago, I wrote about this dynamic using existing public disclosures. Recent headlines about lawmakers rushing to join the ranks of K Street are a reminder that little has changed. 
https://www.leefang.com/p/members-of-congress-take-lobbyist

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You need to understand that the lobbying system in the USA is actually very important, and not well understood by political novices.  It is easy to call the system corrupt, but remember that lobbying exists in EVERY political system, from anarchy to democracy to totalitarianism etc.  There are groups in society who need their voices heard and whose interests are important to the national interest.  These can be benign or selfish interests of course, but NGOs, and Corporations have interests, as well as many other political interest groups. 

In the USA there has been a push to regulate the system of donations via lobby groups, but consider what a situation where no lobby groups made any donations...  What would that look like?

Well, the answer is that it would look very socialist.  It would mean that ALL the funds for every election whether county, state, or federal would all be drawing on tax payer funds.  Every dog catcher election would be drawing on the public purse for advertising.  No billionaire could fund a campaign, and no lobby group could save their membership's pennies to buy a voice to get their issues heard.  The question would be whether the politicians would feel accountable to the electorate at all in such a system?

At least in the present imperfect system we the peoples are able to actively participate in funding the organizations to push for the policies we support.  For example, when Obama was swept to office, he was largely funded not by lobby groups but individuals making donations to his campaign.  Then let's consider the guy who wants to push for a more pro-Ecology stance who donates to a Green Lobby, does he have more right to be heard than the lobby group of the Coal Workers union?  

So let's now look at people who have served as representatives for these lobbies.  What if they actually believe in the Corporation they have been lobbying for with the same evangelical determination as a Trans Activist has for their lobby group?  Should they not work for the lobby they have devoted their political life to supporting?  Is their expertise as a representative not worthy of remuneration in these roles?  Ultimately, ex-representatives are likely to be the very best people to work as lobbyists, as they know the system and will be the most effective in those positions.

On the other hand, I think that the power of lobbies is often very exaggerated in people's minds.

The real question becomes, do you want to have your taxes raised to pay for every election so that corporations don't have to contribute, or would you prefer that corporations save that money for some other nefarious purpose?  I would argue that springing for elections is one of the only public expenses corporations have to pay.  Do corporations therefore have disproportionate influence on elections?  Well, they are in competition with every other corporation for the same representatives, as well as all the other lobby groups.  Remember that while corporations can bring money to the table to buy advertising, people hate advertising, and none more so that political advertising, so how much influence are they really buying when a large lobby group to save a particular piece of wilderness might be able to garner tens of thousands of votes in a swing state and force the so-called larger players' hands.

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1 hour ago, WVK said:

The revolving door in Washington is perhaps the most pernicious form of corruption. It is illegal for incumbents to receive direct financial rewards from the interest groups that lobby them daily. But financial rewards are often delayed until retirement. While serving, members angle for high-paid private sector positions, trading favors and votes for a future career after working as an elected official. A member of Congress earning a $174,000 salary can multiply that by retiring and taking a position with a lobbying firm or corporate interest.

In other words, a powerful incentive keeping many lawmakers loyal to special interest groups is the hope of one day swapping roles. 

The influence-peddling world is filled with scores of former lawmakers. However, few disclose how much they earn in the private sector. Over a decade ago, I wrote about this dynamic using existing public disclosures. Recent headlines about lawmakers rushing to join the ranks of K Street are a reminder that little has changed. 
https://www.leefang.com/p/members-of-congress-take-lobbyist

This gets to the crux of why people spend millions of dollars to get a job that pays $174,000... less than the salary of a first year law associate at a corporate law firm.

With that said, there is nothing inherently wrong with lobbying.  How else are our representatives going to know how their constituents feel about issues?   The real issue is how big money can influence politicians to take positions that are counter to the public good.  This is where robust debate and transparency comes into play.  

Politics has been corrupting since the beginning of time.  Two oldest professions are politics and hookers.  

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4 hours ago, Alchopwn said:

You need to understand that the lobbying system in the USA is actually very important, and not well understood by political novices.  It is easy to call the system corrupt, but remember that lobbying exists in EVERY political system, from anarchy to democracy to totalitarianism etc.  There are groups in society who need their voices heard and whose interests are important to the national interest.  These can be benign or selfish interests of course, but NGOs, and Corporations have interests, as well as many other political interest groups. 

In the USA there has been a push to regulate the system of donations via lobby groups, but consider what a situation where no lobby groups made any donations...  What would that look like?

Well, the answer is that it would look very socialist.  It would mean that ALL the funds for every election whether county, state, or federal would all be drawing on tax payer funds.  Every dog catcher election would be drawing on the public purse for advertising.  No billionaire could fund a campaign, and no lobby group could save their membership's pennies to buy a voice to get their issues heard.  The question would be whether the politicians would feel accountable to the electorate at all in such a system?

At least in the present imperfect system we the peoples are able to actively participate in funding the organizations to push for the policies we support.  For example, when Obama was swept to office, he was largely funded not by lobby groups but individuals making donations to his campaign.  Then let's consider the guy who wants to push for a more pro-Ecology stance who donates to a Green Lobby, does he have more right to be heard than the lobby group of the Coal Workers union?  

So let's now look at people who have served as representatives for these lobbies.  What if they actually believe in the Corporation they have been lobbying for with the same evangelical determination as a Trans Activist has for their lobby group?  Should they not work for the lobby they have devoted their political life to supporting?  Is their expertise as a representative not worthy of remuneration in these roles?  Ultimately, ex-representatives are likely to be the very best people to work as lobbyists, as they know the system and will be the most effective in those positions.

On the other hand, I think that the power of lobbies is often very exaggerated in people's minds.

The real question becomes, do you want to have your taxes raised to pay for every election so that corporations don't have to contribute, or would you prefer that corporations save that money for some other nefarious purpose?  I would argue that springing for elections is one of the only public expenses corporations have to pay.  Do corporations therefore have disproportionate influence on elections?  Well, they are in competition with every other corporation for the same representatives, as well as all the other lobby groups.  Remember that while corporations can bring money to the table to buy advertising, people hate advertising, and none more so that political advertising, so how much influence are they really buying when a large lobby group to save a particular piece of wilderness might be able to garner tens of thousands of votes in a swing state and force the so-called larger players' hands.

Do we know who gets what , how much and from whom?  public record?

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18 hours ago, WVK said:

Do we know who gets what , how much and from whom?  public record?

Try https://www.fec.gov/data/ for campaign finance data.

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They can't take bribes while in office, but if they vote a certain way they get $4 million as a lobbyist afterwards?  Sounds about right.  

 

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1 hour ago, Alchopwn said:

Try https://www.fec.gov/data/ for campaign finance data.

Looked up Nikki Haley,, lots of cash from PAC Winfred. 
https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/?committee_id=C00833392&two_year_transaction_period=2024&two_year_transaction_period=2022&line_number=F3P-17A&data_type=processed

I understand that Nikki is a big supporter of the Defense industry and that we’re eager to support her. In fact if she might have been elected it could have effected my investment decisions if i could make any sense out of the data.

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2 minutes ago, WVK said:

Looked up Nikki Haley,, lots of cash from PAC Winfred. 
https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/?committee_id=C00833392&two_year_transaction_period=2024&two_year_transaction_period=2022&line_number=F3P-17A&data_type=processed

I understand that Nikki is a big supporter of the Defense industry and that we’re eager to support her. In fact if she might have been elected it could have effected my investment decisions if i could make any sense out of the data.

There's an app now that let's you see and copy Congressmen's stock portfolio.  It has Pelosi and a quite a few others that do well above the average.

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31 minutes ago, WVK said:

Looked up Nikki Haley,, lots of cash from PAC Winfred. 
https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/?committee_id=C00833392&two_year_transaction_period=2024&two_year_transaction_period=2022&line_number=F3P-17A&data_type=processed

I understand that Nikki is a big supporter of the Defense industry and that we’re eager to support her. In fact if she might have been elected it could have effected my investment decisions if i could make any sense out of the data.

That should have read “Nikki Haley is a big supporter of the Defense industry and THEY ARE eager to support her.”

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34 minutes ago, Gromdor said:

There's an app now that lets you see and copy Congressmen's stock portfolio.  It has Pelosi and a quite a few others that do well above the average.y

Yes, imagine rearranging your investment portfolio using that information!

They’re not there for the $174,000.  

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47 minutes ago, Gromdor said:

There's an app now that let's you see and copy Congressmen's stock portfolio.  It has Pelosi and a quite a few others that do well above the average.

I wonder who else in Pelosi’s circle might have benefited from this insider information? Wouldn’t that be illegal?

 

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13 minutes ago, WVK said:

I wonder who else in Pelosi’s circle might have benefited from this insider information? Wouldn’t that be illegal?

 

Nah, because the people doing it would be the people making the law to make it illegal.  

So Pelosi can get inside information, use it to purchase stocks, the app (and thus us) could mirror the transaction knowing it was based off probable inside information, and none of us would go to jail.

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44 minutes ago, Gromdor said:

Nah, because the people doing it would be the people making the law to make it illegal.  

So Pelosi can get inside information, use it to purchase stocks, the app (and thus us) could mirror the transaction knowing it was based off probable inside information, and none of us would go to jail.

She could create a subscription newsletter:

Pelosi’s Picks

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I am glad the site I showed you has been put to good use.  Have fun guys.

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On 6/12/2024 at 5:55 AM, Gromdor said:

They can't take bribes while in office, but if they vote a certain way they get $4 million as a lobbyist afterwards?  Sounds about right.  

 

Menendez and certain SC justices seem to do OK with gifts in lieu of bribes.  

On 6/11/2024 at 6:56 AM, Edumakated said:

This gets to the crux of why people spend millions of dollars to get a job that pays $174,000... less than the salary of a first year law associate at a corporate law firm.

Yes and you might also remember that the money spent is seldom their own.  You have to work a lot harder for a law firm than is required in Congress.  Most corporations would cut you loose if you produced nothing in a year.

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On 6/12/2024 at 7:49 AM, Gromdor said:

So Pelosi can get inside information, use it to purchase stocks, the app (and thus us) could mirror the transaction knowing it was based off probable inside information, and none of us would go to jail.

People do pretty well following Warren Buffet stock moves too, but he has a different philosophy. 

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On 6/12/2024 at 10:55 PM, Gromdor said:

They can't take bribes while in office, but if they vote a certain way they get $4 million as a lobbyist afterwards?  Sounds about right.  

They now possess a rare skill-set, and lobbying is a big deal.  Corporations are ready to pay for their expertise.  On the other hand, there are plenty of jobs that pay more than 4 million per annum.

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3 hours ago, Alchopwn said:

They now possess a rare skill-set, and lobbying is a big deal.  Corporations are ready to pay for their expertise.  On the other hand, there are plenty of jobs that pay more than 4 million per annum.

Those jobs aren’t on this list:

25 Highest Paying Jobs in the U.S.

https://www.investopedia.com/personal-finance/top-highest-paying-jobs/

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