The takeover

In previous columns I have noted that congressional staffers now dream not of becoming members, as they once did, but of earning big bucks as lobbyists. Now comes a study with the hard evidence, produced by the transparency advocacy group LegiStorm, finding that almost 5,400 current and former staffers “have gone through the lobbying ‘revolving door’ in the past decade alone.”

Lobbying firms also have reverse influence by farming out their employees to serve as staff on influential congressional committees. For example, the Washington Post has reported that there are thirteen former lobbyists on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee and twelve serving as staff for the debt reduction “super committee.” To top it all off, the Project on Government Oversight reports that a former Goldman Sachs official is now employed by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, “helping the committee chair, Rep. Darryl Issa (R-California), write letters to banking regulators questioning the need for new derivatives oversight.”

Talk about letting foxes into the chicken coop!

Charles Peters

Charles Peters is the founding editor of the Washington Monthly and the author of a new book on Lyndon B. Johnson published by Times Books.