Michael Bennet: Ban Former Congress Members From Becoming Lobbyists

April 29 2010, 11:56 AM
Currently, members of the U.S. House of Representatives must wait one year after leaving office before they may return to lobby their former colleagues. For senators, the wait is two years. U.S. Senator Michael Bennet believes former members of Congress should never be able to become lobbyists, according to The Associated Press, and on Wednesday introduced legislation that would put in place a lifetime ban. At last count, notes the Fort Collins Coloradoan, 150 former members of Congress had jobs as lobbyists on Capitol Hill. "It just seems to me that if you have the privilege to serve in one of these offices, the least you can do is not put yourself in a position where people look at it and say, 'Well, you're trading on the relationships that you had while you were a member of Congress,'" the Colorado Democrat says. "It's one of the things that creates a perception that the place is rigged." Bennet doesn't yet have any co-sponsors for his legislation, which would also bar former congressional staffers from lobbying their former bosses or committees for six years, up from the current one-year ban, and would make bar lobbyists wait six years before joining congressional staffs they had lobbied.
It's hard to project how such legislation would pan out in real-life scenarios, but if in place now, it might affect Goldman Sachs. As Congress considers a regulatory overhaul that could damage Goldman Sachs, which is faced with fraud charges, a team of veteran lobbyists has been assembled---"well-connected former Hill staffers and top public relations strategists to confront what is arguably the most traumatic moment in [the company's] 140-year history," according to The Washington Post.