Lobbyists are trained to influence and persuade government officials to act on behalf of their corporation. Lobbying firms often hire men and women with prior government experience to gain access to their connections. A new study entitled “Lobbyists into Government” (Benjamin C. K. Egerod and Joshua McCrain (2023)) examines what occurs when a lobbyist transitions into a role in government.
There are no laws preventing these individuals from entering the government, as both sides of the aisle are drenched in corruption. The study examined US federal bureaucrats and congressional staff records from 2001 to 2020. “We find lobbying firms that gain government connections through the departure of one of their lobbyists experience a 36% revenue increase, or roughly $320,000 per year.” That is a substantial increase and no coincidence.
These individuals, once embedded in government roles, offer their firms premium services and benefit personally. [C]onnections to congressional offices are more valuable than those gained to executive branch agencies,” the study noted.
Open Secrets lists many of these individuals and discusses the “revolving door” of moving back and forth between positions as lobbyists and positions within government. For example, Sen Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) replaced Sen John McCain after his death. Time Magazine named Kyl one of the 100 most influential people in the world, and Sen Mitch McConnel (R-Ky.) said he was “a great persuader.” He even helped Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh join the highest court. Kyl went through the revolving door numerous times and held positions in government followed by positions as a “Senior or Counsel Government Affairs” at corporations that spend millions lobbying their respective causes.
As Open Secrets reports:
“When American voters discard elected officials—and their staffs—lobbying firms and interest groups are quick to snap up the unemployed. Lobbying firms—which often charge steep fees from their deep-pocketed clients—can offer former government employees salaries far greater than those proffered by Uncle Sam, as well as continued influence on Capitol Hill. In return, firms get lobbyists who already have established connections in the federal government and whose résumés can act as a powerful draw for potential clients. The lobbying firms shown here have the greatest track record of hiring former government employees.”
This is clear corruption but it is permitted to take place. The revolving door allows individuals to go back and forth from corporations, sometimes directly working as lobbyists or “senior advisors,” to positions in government. “Dozens of former members of Congress now receive handsome compensation from corporations and special interests as they attempt to influence the very federal government in which they used to serve,” Open Secrets stated. So yes, government is bought and paid for and there are few people left who are actually representing the best interests of We the People.