Revolving Door Still Open for Lobbyists

Sunday, February 08, 2009
Revolving Door Champion Tommy Thompson

“Revolving door” describes the common phenomenon of government officials being in charge of regulating companies for which they worked, and then, after they leave office, going to work for the same companies they were just regulating. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has issued a report that illuminates the post-government activities of 24 members of President George W. Bush’s cabinet. Of the 24, 15 held positions with 40 companies that lobby the cabinet member’s former department. The most impressive record was compiled by former Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson. Within four years of leaving the Bush administration, Thompson managed to parley his access to government decision makers into salaries from 42 different companies.

Democrats are just as prone to revolving doors as Republicans. Among Obama appointments who have worked as lobbyists or otherwise represented companies in ways that any normal American would consider lobbying:
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, partner in lobbying law firm Dorsey & Whitney;
U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, lobbyist for, among others, Energy Future Holdings, a major producer and distributor of energy;
Deputy Secretary of Defense-designate William J. Lynn III, lobbyist for defense giant Raytheon;
Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services William V. Corr, anti-tobacco lobbyist;
Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Hayes, partner in environmental lobbying law firm Latham & Watkins;
Mark Patterson, Chief of Staff to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, lobbyist for Goldman Sachs
Get Away From Those Spinning Doors (by Michael Winship, Truthout)
Revolving Door (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) (PDF)
Obama: Lobbyists, I Can’t Quit You! (by Paul Kiel, ProPublica)


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