Who Goes Through the 'Revolving Door'? Examining the Lobbying Activity of Former Congress Members and Staffers
30 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2013
Date Written: 2013
Government watchdog groups and the government itself have shown concern about the “revolving door” of employees from Congress to private lobbying organizations and the reverse. But virtually no one has analyzed this phenomenon systematically. We take steps to fill this gap in the literature by examining which former members of Congress become lobbyists, and which employ the most staff members who go on to become lobbyists. We construct a dataset of all members of Congress who left the institution between 1976 and 2012, identifying all those who went on to register with the FEC as a lobbyist. We identify several trends. Among these: there is not a significant difference in the rates at which former House members and Senators become lobbyists; institutional standing (in the form of party leadership and other such positions) has a profound effect on which former House members become lobbyists, but less so among former Senators; and there is some evidence that Republican former Senators are more likely to become lobbyists than Democratic former Senators, but this party difference is virtually absent among former House members.
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