House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the two top Republican leaders on Capitol Hill.
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In Washington, people often move between jobs as Capitol Hill staffers and as lobbyists.
Per a new analysis, Republicans have hired way more former lobbyists than Democrats in the last year.
But it’s an issue for both parties — roughly even numbers of Democrats and Republicans became lobbyists.
Republicans on Capitol Hill have hired far more former lobbyists to work in their offices than Democrats in the last year, according to a new analysis.
Data compiled by Legistorm — a website that closely tracks congressional staffers’ job movements and salaries — found that 61 of the 91 former lobbyists who took jobs in partisan offices on Capitol Hill in the last year were hired by Republicans. That amounts to a 64%-36% split.
But the problem of the so-called “revolving door” — the phenomenon of people moving between jobs in government to jobs as lobbyists, consultants, or political strategists and vice-versa — is one that besets both political parties.
Legistorm also found that of the 415 former congressional staffers who worked in partisan offices and registered as lobbyists this year, 54% came from Republican offices and 46% came from Democratic offices — a much more even split.
Over the last ten years, Republicans have generally made up the majority of staffers-turned-lobbyists, the analysis also found.
Congressional staff often develop expertise and connections from their time serving on Capitol Hill — assets that make them attractive hires for lobbying firms hoping to influence public policy.
The pay offered by the private sector is often much greater than a government salary. Conversely, offices may hire ex-lobbyists as staffers due to their expertise on a particular issue.
Members of Congress themselves sometimes become lobbyists after their tenure ends, with high salaries offering a clear incentive to cash in on their years in government.
While any citizen is entitled to lobby members of Congress — in essence, advocate for a particular position on an issue — members of both parties have often decried the influence of lobbying by powerful corporations and special interest groups, or have used the issue as a political cudgel.
Additionally, the employment of ex-lobbyists as staffers raises the prospect that those staffers may be biased towards their former employers when formulating policy and drafting legislation.
In recent years, several lawmakers have proposed bills to ban ex-members of Congress from ever becoming lobbyists. In 2019, Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas found common cause on Twitter over the issue.
However, lawmakers have generally avoided addressing the issue of the revolving door when it comes to staff.