Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

Just How Many Newt Gingrich's Are There on K Street? Estimating the True Size and Shape of Washington's Revolving Door

19 Pages Posted: 5 Apr 2013  

Tim LaPira

James Madison University

Herschel F. Thomas III

University of Texas at Austin - Department of Government

Date Written: April 2, 2013

Abstract

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich’s choice not to register under the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) for his “historical advice” to Freddie Mac was a controversy in the 2012 Republican primary. The practice of carefully crafting policy advocacy activities to avoid triggering disclosure requirements is commonly referred to as the "Daschle exception" after the former Senate Majority Leader became a leading “strategic adviser” to one of Washington’s biggest lobbying firms. In this paper we ask: how many professionals are engaged in policy advocacy, and how common is it for them to have worked in the federal government? We assume that high-profile cases of Daschle and Gingrich are not isolated, so we seek to account for lobbying and policy advocacy in as large an empirical scope as possible. Using a new data set of professional biographies of both registered lobbyists and unregistered policy advocates, we estimate that there are more professionals engaged in influencing public policy "under the radar" than there are who are transparent about their clients and activities, implying that lobbying disclosure reports provide only a partial view of policy influence in Washington. We also find that, unlike Gingrich and Daschle, unregistered policy advocates are less likely to have gone through the revolving door and are more likely to be general political process experts rather than institutional specialists.

Keywords: lobbying, revolving door, interest groups, Lobbying Disclosure Act, policy advocacy

JEL Classification: H1

Suggested Citation

LaPira, Tim and Thomas, Herschel F., Just How Many Newt Gingrich's Are There on K Street? Estimating the True Size and Shape of Washington's Revolving Door (April 2, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2241671 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2241671

Timothy M. LaPira (Contact Author)

James Madison University ( email )

91 E Grace St
MSC 7705
Harrisonburg, VA 22807
United States
5405685309 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.jmu.edu/polisci/faculty_lapira.shtml

Herschel F. Thomas III

University of Texas at Austin - Department of Government ( email )

College of Liberal Arts
1 University Station A1800
Austin, TX 78712
United States

Paper statistics

Downloads
492
Rank
46,497
Abstract Views
2,553