Freshman Republican Rep. Rod Blum of Iowa introduced a bill this week that would ban former members of Congress from becoming lobbyists for life.
Currently former members of Congress are not allowed to lobby for one or two years after they leave office for a “cooling off period,” but Blum’s legislation, also known as the No Golden Parachutes for Public Service Act, would make the ban permanent.
Lobbyists can often make huge amounts of money. Former members of Congress get a 1,452% raise on average when they leave office to become lobbyists, according to an investigation by Public Report. It’s not uncommon for those ex-legislators to make millions as lobbyists.
Though legislation like Blum’s has been suggested by members of Congress from both sides of the aisle, it isn’t a flawless bill. It wouldn’t prevent former legislators from becoming unregistered “shadow lobbyists,” who advise people on political strategy without trying to push their own interests, Vox reported.
"By working as policy advisors and in other 'nonlobbyist' positions, former lobbyists can keep their current jobs but escape the consequences of being a registered lobbyist," wrote Dan Auble for the Center for Responsive Politics.
Blum’s measure hasn’t been tested in Congress yet, but it will undoubtedly face opposition because legislators may want to keep their options open for life after Capitol Hill.