By Joe Newman
When Public Citizen asked 47 retiring lawmakers this week to sign a pledge not to take a lucrative lobbying job upon leaving Congress, we weren’t really expecting our phones to ring off the hook. Surely, though, someone among those outgoing representatives and senators would be willing to take the ethical high road?
So far, there are no takers. Zip, zilch, nada. We’re 0 for 47.
Arthur Delaney in the HuffPo called around to some of the retiring members and couldn’t find anyone interested in our pledge. Taking the pledge could cost those members a lot of money, afterall. As Delaney notes:
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Members of Congress earn $174,000 year. That’s cat-food money on K Street. According to Ivan Adler, a headhunter for the McCormick Group, a retiring member fetches at least $500,000 as a lobbyist. A retiring senator is worth more.
Delaney talked to our colleague Angela Canterbury, the director of advocacy for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division, who told him Public Citizen would check in with those lawmakers soon just to make sure they got our request. Canterbury said:
“With financial reform under consideration and credible reform on the line, we have concerns about the intentions of the retiring senators and in particular ones who have not been as supportive of consumer protection as we would like.”
Want to help ratchet the pressure up on these lawmakers? Sign the petition asking them to end the revolving door.