These Are The Ex-Lawmakers Who Could Barely Wait To Sell Out

Five House members and two senators who left office in January are already working for lobbying firms that make millions peddling influence on Capitol Hill

Feb 03, 2015 at 5:03 PM ET

It didn’t take long for these lawmakers to cash in on their careers as public servants.

Less than a month after leaving office, at least five former House members and one U.S. senator are already on the payroll at firms that make millions lobbying their congressional colleagues. The findings, provided to Vocativ by the Center for Responsive Politics, a government watchdog group, also show that a second senator who left office at the beginning of January, Alaska’s Mark Begich, took the extra step of starting his own public affairs consulting firm, which has already secured clients in health care and aviation.

While Washington’s contentious revolving door spins in perpetuum—allowing a stream of money, influence and access to flow seamlessly between the private and public sectors—the speed with which these public servants have offered themselves up to big business may raise a few eyebrows.

“It’s not like they were calling up their new employers on the morning of Jan. 5 and asking for a job,” says Russ Choma, a CRP spokesman. “It would seem very likely that as these lawmakers were still voting on bills and debating policies, they were simultaneously negotiating with lobbying firms whose clients may have a direct interest in these issues.”

By law, ex-House members are required to wait one year before they can officially lobby lawmakers on the Hill, while former senators must wait twice as long. Many, however, are able to work around those requirements at firms by signing on as consultants, counsel and strategic advisors, as a recent analysis by CRP and the Sunlight Foundation shows. That study’s conclusion: “The many loopholes limiting who can lobby whom in Washington and whether that lobbying must be disclosed to the public make a hunk of Swiss cheese look like the Berlin Wall.”

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.)

Title: Partner
Firm: DLA Piper
2014 Lobbying Income: $8 million
Notable Clients: PGA Tour, Royal Bank of Scotland, Pfizer

Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.)

Title: Senior Advisor
Firm: Kelley Drye Warren
2014 Lobbying Income: $3.5 million
Notable Clients: Exxon Mobil, Kroger, Alliance for American Manufacturing

Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Penn.)

Title: Senior Legislative Advisor
Firm: Venable LLP
2014 Lobbying Income: $8 million
Notable Clients: Lockheed Martin, Blackstone Group, Verizon

Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah)

Title: Principal
Firm: Squire Patton Boggs
2014 Lobbying Income: $30 million
Notable Clients: Amazon, Goldman Sachs, General Electric

Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.)

Title: Senior Legislative Advisor
Firm: McDermott, Will & Emery
2014 Lobbying Income: $4.5 million
Notable Clients: Brewers Association, Trinity Health, Coalition for Fair and Rational Taxation

Rep. Bill Owens (D-N.Y.)

Title: Senior Strategic Advisor
Firm: McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP
2014 Lobbying Income: $830,000
Notable Clients: University of Georgia, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers

Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK)

Title: Founder/Strategic Advisor
Firm: Northern Compass Group
2014 Lobbying Income: N/A
Notable Clients: National Association for Home Care and Hospice, Grant Aviation