Americas Revolving Door

In the political stratosphere the term “revolving- door” is synonymous with an individual who made the switch from government into private sector employment as a lobbyist. Corporations, especially, are fond of employing lobbyists that have had a previous tenure in politics. This leverage allows the corporation to garner support in government, with the help of an individual who has previous, sometimes extensive, experience in government operations.

            Lawmakers and government officials are often offered lobbyist positions before their status in government is expired. In some cases, the future lobbyist, will accept the position before taking leave of their current responsibilities. In turn, they are making decisions for the public interest all the while having vested dividends in the private sector. For example, ex-congressman Heath Shuler began talks with Duke Energy about a lobbying position before leaving office. In turn he accepted a position with them before severing complete ties with government employment. Not to mention on average an ex-politico turned lobbyist can see a %1,400 increase in salary. The monetary benefits associated with becoming a lobbyist are too advantageous for most legislators to resist. In fact, a list compiled by details all former congress and senate members who have become lobbyists since exiting government employment. A quick look will show that many former members have turned their gaze to the private sector.

            Regulations have been put in place that prevent ex-politicians from lobbying their previous department. For example, the Trump Administration bars any former employee from lobbying the department they worked in for five years. They are also banned from lobbying anyone from the executive office while the Trump administration remains in tenure. Similar rules and regulations have existed throughout previous administrations as well. A code of ethics that would truly regulate lobbyists should call for the expulsion of all “revolving door” members. Their ability to very easily integrate themselves back into the working apparatus of government, not for the benefit of the people, but the firm or client they represent forebodes democratic unrest.

Millions and billions of dollars is spent on lobbying every year. Individuals, non-profits, corporations, and miscellaneous entities can open the doors of persuasion by simply opening their wallets. This should cause immediate concern for members of the working class. Our grievances with the government are heard through protests, letters, emails, and organized correspondence. Theirs are heard through glamourous campaign dinners, maximum monetary contributions, and social media blitzkriegs.

Lobbyists take power away from the people, they insinuate that the common good can be deprioritized in the pursuit of private interests. The amount of money involved with the practice demonstrates this undeniably. Akin Gump, the largest lobbying firm in the world, alone spent forty-two million dollars in 2019. It is difficult to believe that all politicians act with the benefit of the majority in sight when they can easily be tempted with monetary gain. The practice of lobbying public servants needs to be eradicated or heavily regulated to protect the political power of the working class.



Patrick O’Connor

current events politics progressive

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