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Zell Miller Gets Stuck in the Revolving Door

zell miller

Current revolving door rules prohibit ex-Congressmen from lobbying their old colleagues for one year after they leave office. In September 2005, ex-Sen. Zell Miller (D-Ga.) was still within his one year probation period when became a registered lobbyist for the firm of McKenna, Long and Aldridge.  According to disclosure forms, the firm received $60,000 from Lockheed Aeronautical Systems for him and others to lobby the House, Senate and Department of Defense.

If he, in fact, lobbied any Congressmen, he broke the law.  But there is no way of knowing by looking at the disclosure forms, because they don’t say exactly what he did.

Lobbying restrictions are supposed to prevent government employees from stepping through the revolving door between the Capitol and “K Street” and selling out the public by exploiting the contacts they made while in office.  Developments in recent years have shown they need MUCH improvement.

For example, by July 2005, 18 recently departed members of Congress had already accepted jobs at lobbying firms only six months into retirement. As noted by Public Citizen’s advocate Craig Holman in Roll Call today, our research shows that from 1998 through 2004, 43 percent of all retiring Members of Congress (those retiring for reasons other than death or conviction) spun through the revolving door to become lobbyists. Anecdotal evidence indicates very high salaries, sometimes reaching millions.

Last week, Public Citizen sent  a letter [pdf] to Rep. Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Sen. Reid (D-Nev.) asking them to prevent the ethically-questionable activity of former Congressmen by enacting stricter disclosure requirements, a ban on all lobbying activities for a two-year cooling-off period, and the creation of an independent Office of Public Integrity to enforce the ethics rules.

Tell your member of Congress it’s time to prevent public officials from cashing in their public service and selling out the American people.

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