I’m concerned about the “revolving door” between government and private industry. For example, elected officials often leave office and take lucrative jobs in industries for which they crafted favorable legislation while in office, or Obama administration staffers leave their appointments to take well paying jobs on Wall Street. It often works the other way around, as in the case of WellPoint health insurance executive Elizabeth Fowler who left her well paying job to be a staffer for Sen. Max Baucus (at the time one of the health care sectors most heavily backed lawmakers) in order to write the Affordable Care Act. She is now back in the private sector as a lobbyist for Johnson & Johnson. Do you think there is anything we can do about the revolving door and the corruption it brings to government?
Response by Arthur:
Donna, this is such a good question. In some cases former members of Congress have to wait a year to before they can actively lobby. Actually, Larry Rhoden, a Republican running for the Senate from South Dakota, has proposed a permanent ban on lobbying by former members of Congress. This is terrific because (a) it would directly affect the issue about which you write, and (b) it is a really positive step towards addressing the situation in a bi-partisan way.
Since it is not very likely that Congress will pass the necessary legislation, it is important for non-partisan non-profit organizations to track legislators and former legislators who are going through the revolving door. That becomes effective if voters utilize this information and loudly say that they will not vote for anyone coming or going through the revolving door.