Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Congressional Retirees Chosing K Street
Over Elder Statesman Role

A new study's findings confirms a troubling pattern in American government that upon retirement more and more former Congress members are moving on to lobbyists careers. Less than 20 years ago this was practically unheard of as lobbying was seen as sleezy and didn't pay too well. That changed beinning in the 1990's and dramatically so since 1998.
From WaPo:
Congress Watch reports "43 percent of the 198 House and Senate members who left government to join private life since 1998 have registered to lobby. Of the 36 senators who left during that period, half have joined the lobbying ranks."

A Route to K Street
A Route to K Street

I believe our government would be far better off if K Street did not exist. Rather its power and influence only grows and widens as they are able to shell out for these Uber-Lobbyists who will shill for its bought causes. This is troubling as these uber-lobbyists have greater access to power. They have some cache as former Senators or Congressman though as this trend continues that will be eroded. How can groups of Americans or even individuals Americans compete with this juggernaut? They can't.

And even more troubling is that serving as a representative of the people is now becoming a stepping stone to the riches of lobbydom.
  • How does that payoff influence Congressman while IN office?
  • How much does it influence the decision to even RUN for public office?
  • Just who is representing US anymore?

As we see this erosion of democracy or the rise of oligarchy not only will we long for the days when retired elder statesman merely offered sage wisom and guidance for the taking .....we will wrestle with how do we take back our government and regain a voice in America.

UPDATE: K Street is breathing life back into CAFTA. And Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) is calling on K street to get to work on CAFTA.

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