This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
By Sarah McKinnon Bryner, Lobbying and Revolving Door Researcher
Center for Responsive Politics Research Director Jihan Andoni and research interns Kelsey Shoub and Walter Hickey also contributed to this report.
July 12, 2011
About the Center for Responsive Politics
The Center for Responsive Politics is the nation's premier research group tracking money in federal politics and its effect on elections and public policy. The nonpartisan, nonprofit Center aims to create a more educated voter, an involved citizenry and a more responsive government. CRP's award-winning website, OpenSecrets. org, is the most comprehensive resource for federal campaign contributions, lobbying data and analysis available anywhere. CRP relies on support from a combination of foundation grants, individual contributions and income earned from custom research and licensing data for commercial use. The Center accepts no contributions from businesses, labor unions or trade associations.
Center for Responsive Politics 1101 14th Street NW Suite 1030 Washington, D.C. 20005 Phone: 202-857-0044 Fax: 202-857-7809 www.OpenSecrets.org
Table of Content:
Introduction ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… page 4 Changes in the Number of Ex-Lobbyists Working in Congress ……………………………………………………… page 5 Powerful Sectors ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… page 10 Connected Clients ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. page 13 Experienced Lobbyists ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… page 14 Why is This Happening and What Does It Mean?……………………………………………………………….……..... page 14 Methodology …………………….………………………………………………………………………………………………………… page 15
Congress, one of the nation’s longest-standing institutions, employs thousands of people. Many of them are former campaign staffers for senators and representatives. Others are policy experts with years of experience. And hundreds are former lobbyists who used to lobby the very institution for which they now work. In this report, the Center for Responsive Politics details the pervasiveness of former lobbyists working in some of the most powerful staff positions in the 111th and 112th Congresses. These lobbyists -- some of whom previously represented upward of 100 clients -- can be found in the offices of Republicans and Democrats, senior and junior congressional members and in the staff offices of many powerful congressional committees. The Center finds that the number of lobbyists employed in these positions is rising. In all, the number of lobbyists in Congress has increased more than two-fold between the 111th and 112th Congress, these lobbyists representing a variety of industrial sectors and special interest areas. There's also a partisan nature to the increase in lobbyists, with an influx of lobbyists working for freshman Republican representatives. Furthermore, several major companies' former hired guns now work for the very congressional committees they used to lobby. But questions remain. For example, why do these lobbyists return to the public sector? And, what does the preponderance of former lobbyists in Congress mean for the health of American democracy?
CHANGES IN THE NUMBER OF EX-LOBBYISTS WOKING IN CONGRESS
While only 60 former lobbyists worked in critically important staff positions in the 111th Congress, 128 former lobbyists can be found working in the same positions in the 112th Congress. This represents a 130 percent increase in the number of former lobbyists working on Capitol Hill. Of these 153 individuals, 34 worked in both the 111th Congress and the 112th. When the parties of the members these exlobbyists work for are considered, a more nuanced story develops. During the 111th Congress, 33 worked for Democrats, while 27 worked for Republicans, but during the 112th Congress, 79 work for Republicans, 48 for Democrats and one for an independent. Some of this increase is to be expected because of the change in party control of the House. But in general, former lobbyists are actually over-represented on the staffs of Republicans in positions as chiefs of staff and legislative directors, as 55 percent of current members of Congress are Republicans and 63 percent of former lobbyists working in Congress work for Republicans. Figure 1: Former lobbyists hired by members of Congress, by party
140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 111th 112th Independent Democrat Republican
Although Republicans have stacked a number of important staff positions with lobbyists, new Democratic politicians have also welcomed former lobbyists to their staff. For example, freshman Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) hired Capitol Hill veteran Laurie Rubiner as his chief of staff, at the time praising her "invaluable experience in the Senate" and "unparalleled policy expertise." Rubiner, who had most recently lobbied on behalf of Planned Parenthood, previously worked in the offices of Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Sen. John Chafee (R-R.I.). In addition to her lobbying experience for Planned Parenthood, Rubiner also lobbied for the National Partnership for Women and Families.
Blumenthal is hardly the only new congressional member who hired former lobbyists. Freshmen members in particular, on both sides of the aisle, may hire ex-lobbyists to help compensate for their own congressional inexperience. However, of the 38 freshman congressional members in the 112th Congress who hired lobbyists, only two -- Blumenthal and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) -- are Democrats. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) actually hired two lobbyists into his top positions -- Cesar Conda and Sally Canfield. Now his chief of staff, Conda, an experienced lobbyist, represented dozens of clients while working for DC Navigators, and then, Navigators Global. Some of these clients were Visa, New York Life Insurance and GlaxoSmithKline. Canfield, now working as Rubio’s legislative director, represented Sanofi-Aventis, a global pharmaceutical company. Not all lobbyists who later work for the federal government's legislative branch take jobs in the offices of congressional members. Some accept positions as congressional committee staffers. In these powerful positions, staffers have access to a large number of lawmakers, as well as many of the companies and other organizations that regularly testify before or otherwise work with these committees. Although many more lobbyists work for members than committees, the uptick in the number of hired lobbyists can also be found in congressional committees, as seen in Figure 2. Figure 2: Ex-lobbyists working for members vs. House committees
180 160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 111th 112th Member Committee
One new committee staffer, currently serving as staff director for the House committee on Energy and Commerce, is Gary Andres. Andres is a long-time lobbyist who used to be vice chairman at Dutko Worldwide. His clients included General Motors, the Federation of American Hospitals and the Coalition to Advance Healthcare Reform, a group seeking "market-based solutions" to problems with insurance coverage. Now, according to Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the committee's chairman, Andres' main role
will be to help repeal healthcare reform legislation passed in 2010.1 The committee also is a major destination for legislation relating to climate and energy issues, both areas of interest to many of Andres' old clients. The number of lobbyists working in congressional committees increased from seven in the 111th Congress to 24 in the 112th. However, this is not to say that former lobbyists do not have access to committees -- indeed, every member of Congress sits on at least one committee. Through their employment for congressional members, former lobbyists have access to committees even if they don’t work for the committee itself. Certain committees have a dozen or more former lobbyists working for their members, as seen in Figure 3 on the next page.
"Lobbyists took $100 K cut in pay to work for members of Congress." Roll Call, 6-28-11, http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/168709-lobbyists-took-100k-cut-in-pay-to-work-on-thehill%3Fpage%3D3
Figure 3: Total number of former lobbyists working for members, by committee assignment:* Number of Reverse Revolvers 14 14 12 12 12 11 11 11 10 10 10 10 10 9 9 9 9 9 9 8
Congress Number 112 112 112 112 112 112 112 111 111 112 112 112 112 112 112 111 111 111 111 112
Committee House Energy & Commerce House Financial Services Senate Energy/Natural Resources House Transportation Senate Appropriations House Armed Services House Agriculture House Energy & Commerce House Armed Services Senate Armed Services House Budget House Appropriations House Government Reform House International Relations Senate Budget House Resources House Ways & Means House Government Reform House International Relations Senate Governmental Affairs
*A former lobbyist may be counted in multiple committees, depending on their member's committee assignments, and in multiple Congresses.
The House Energy and Commerce and the House Financial Services committees have the highest cumulative number of former lobbyists employed by their members. The lobbyists of certain companies may be highly desirable to members of Congress serving on committees that handle legislation of concern to these companies. AT&T alone has six former lobbyists who at one point lobbied on behalf of AT&T and now work for senators or representatives sitting on the Senate or House committees related to energy and commerce. Barry Brown, Karen Knutson, Cesar Conda, Don Kent, Amy Andryszak and Luke Albee all work (or worked in the 111th Congress) for congressional members who sit on either the Committee on Energy and Commerce, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science, or the House Appropriations subcommittee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) hired Luke Albee, a former lobbyist for AT&T, and now sits on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet.
Other telecommunications companies also have former lobbyists working for senators on telecommunications-related committees. The Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights, which heard testimony on the proposed merger of AT&T and T-Mobile, for instance, counts several former lobbyists working for its members. Sprint Nextel, and its predecessor, Nextel Communications, were opposed to the merger and had previously been represented by two staffers working for members of the committee: Beth Jafari and Drew Littman. Jafari, who now works for Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), represented Sprint Nextel in 2000. Littman, the chief of staff for Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), represented both SBC Communications (which merged with AT&T in 2005) and Nextel Communications in the early 2000s. The telecommunications sector is but one sector whose lobbyists now work for members of congressional committees. Maria Bowie, who has worked for Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.) since 2003, moved to his office directly from major defense contractor BAE Systems. Now, Calvert sits on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense -- precisely the subcommittee that handles defense earmark bills. Similarly, Jason Cole, currently the chief of staff for Rep. Jim Hines (D-Conn.), used to be the federal affairs director for UBS Americas, the U.S. subsidiary of Swiss financial services giant, UBS AG. Hines now sits on the House Committee on Financial Services.
Not all sectors are positioned to benefit equally from the increased ranks of their former lobbyists now working in Congress. Some sectors appear to provide many more lobbyists than average to the revolving door, as shown in Figure 4: Figure 4: Number of reverse revolvers who represented at least one client, by sector Percent increase between Congresses 300 223 243 243 213 200 193 186 180 159 157 107 40
Sector Energy and Natural Resources Transportation Agribusiness Misc Business Finance, Insurance, Real Estate Health Communication and Electronics Defense Lawyers & Lobbyists Ideology/Single-Issue Construction Other Labor
Total RR 111th 10 13 7 14 16 16 15 7 6 17 7 29 5
Total RR 112th 40 42 24 48 50 48 44 20 13 44 18 60 7
As is evident in Figure 4, former lobbyists are not evenly distributed across all sectors. For example, few former labor lobbyists occupy these high-powered congressional staffer positions, while a large number come from the health, finance, energy and telecommunications sectors. The increase in the number of former lobbyists who represented at least one client in the above sectors is marked, with the percent increase between the two Congresses approaching 300 percent for one sector. Several sectors saw increases of more than 200 percent -- notably, transportation, agribusiness, energy, finance and health. The energy sector, in particular, displays a considerable influx in the number of its former lobbyists now working for Congress. The average increase in the number of lobbyists representing the above sectors was 194 percent2 , but the number of lobbyists-turned-staffers who had represented at least one client
This number is smaller than the percent increase in reverse revolvers between the two Congresses because lobbyists can represent more than one client.
in the energy sector has skyrocketed. Included in those 41 companies are major international corporations, like BP, but also relatively smaller companies, such as Southern Co. The following two figures show that the number of former lobbyists who represented at least one client in the listed sector has increased between the 111th and 112th Congress. It also shows that the party identification of the lawmakers these former lobbyists worked for varies by sector. For example, the defense sector provides many more lobbyists to Republicans than to democrats in both Congresses, but while most sectors provided more lobbyists to Democrats in the 111th Congress, this relationship switched in the 112th. Figure 5: Number of former lobbyists by sector, 111th Congress
20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 R D
Figure 6: Number of former lobbyists by sector, 112th Congress
40 35 30 25 20 15 R 10 5 0 D
Certain clients are well represented in the portfolios of former lobbyists now working on Capitol Hill. Of the organizations with at least four former lobbyists now working for congressional members or congressional committees, seven are telecommunications and electronics companies, four are major healthcare companies and two are government defense contractors. Figure 7: Organizations with the most former lobbyists now employed by Congress Number of Ex-lobbyists 13 9 9 6 6 5 5 5 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 Company AT&T Inc / SBC Communications Lockheed Martin Roche Group Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America Verizon Communications GlaxoSmithKline Southern Co. Microsoft Corp. Blue Cross/Blue Shield SLM Corp. SAIC Inc. CSX Corp. Freddie Mac General Motors eBay Inc. National Cable & Telecommunications Assn. Clear Channel Communications AOL Inc Sector Telecommunications Defense Health Health Telecommunications Health Energy Telecommunications Health Finance Defense Transportation Finance Transportation Telecommunications Telecommunications Telecommunications Telecommunications
One such client is the major defense contractor Lockheed Martin. Charles Kinney, currently working for Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.), lobbied on behalf of Lockheed in 2004. Winston and Strawn's lobbying expenditures report, which detailed lobbying activities by Kinney for Lockheed, indicates that Lockheed attempted to secure additional funding for the Integrated Deepwater Program, a $24 billion government program to replace much of the Coast Guard's older equipment. Now, Kinney is deputy chief of staff and general counsel for Manchin, who currently sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, as well as the Senate Budget Committee.
Many of these former lobbyists didn't move through the revolving door after working for only one client. Some represented dozens, occasionally even hundreds, of clients prior to taking jobs in congressional offices.3 Jeffrey Connaughton, who worked for former Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.), leads the pack of those reverse revolvers who work for members, having represented 121 clients prior to taking a job as Kaufman's chief of staff. Close behind him is Charles Kinney, currently working for Sen. Joe Manchin. Kinney represented 111 clients before moving to Manchin's office. And finally, those staffers now working for committees also bring with them very thick portfolios. Gary Andres, working for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, represented 100 clients before taking his present job. Josh Mathis, now working for the House Agriculture Committee, represented 81 clients, including Monsanto, US Premium Beef and Trident Seafoods.
WHY IS THIS HAPPENING, AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
Certainly, one of the most significant changes between the 111th and 112th Congresses was the change in party control of the House. As we have shown, Republican freshmen representatives hired a disproportionately large number of former lobbyists. These lobbyists, on average, came straight from "K Street," the boulevard in Washington, D.C., that is synonymous with the lobbying industry. They stopped lobbying in 2009, and 26 of them filed their last lobbying report in 2010, the year immediately preceding the job they took in the 112th Congress. In short, congressional members are not just hiring run-of-themill lobbyists. Rather, they are hiring trained, often highly-specialized, influence brokers who may have more experience than the members for whom they work. For their, part, lobbyists themselves may be motivated to take congressional staff jobs for any number of reasons. For some people, working in government is exciting, fulfilling work, where the psychic rewards make up for the smaller paycheck. In other cases, people may have lost lobbying jobs due to the poor economy and find the Hill to be a place where their expertise and skills are highly valued. In each case, the motivations may be different, complex and impossible to determine from the raw data. Although the Center for Responsive Politics does not collect salary information, new hires are required to report earned income prior to taking jobs in congressional offices. Legistorm.com, a transparency organization that reports staff positions and salaries for all people employed by Congress, provides information suggesting that some of these reverse lobbyists may have taken major pay cuts to enter the public sector. One excellent example of this phenomenon is Andres, a former lobbyist who earned
There may be various explanations for a single lobbyist having dozens – or even hundreds – of clients. Some firms may pro-actively register lobbyists as representing clients, in anticipation of work never actually performed. Also, individuals who work as in-house lobbyists will, by definition, typically only have one client listed. This does not mean in any way that they are less "experienced" than those who work for lobbying firms and may therefore represent dozens of clients.
$419,000 in 2010. Now, according to Legistorm, Andres earned $42,000 between January and March 31, which puts him on track to earn less than half of his previous salary. After all of these changes, what does the increase in reverse revolvers mean for American democracy? It may, plausibly, be the case that these individuals are able to keep the wishes of their former clients separate from the wishes of the constituents their bosses represent. But it may also be the case that these former lobbyists are now in the position to exercise considerable sway over everything from policy outcomes to government contract decisions and anti-trust decisions. Particularly where the issues are complicated and do not drive significant constituent interest, former clients of ex-lobbyists now working in Congress could be well placed to reap the rewards of enhanced access and deeper connections into government's legislative branch. What goes on behind closed doors may always remain a secret, but the Center will continue to examine this trend, in an effort to shed light on the influence some staffers now wield in Congress, and which interests may stand to benefit.
The Center for Responsive Politics defines a "revolver" as an individual who moves from a government job to a position in the private sector where he or she could conceivably influence politics, or vice versa. So-called "reverse" revolvers are individuals who move from the private sector into the offices of congressional members, government agencies or congressional committees. For the purposes of this study, we defined the terminology more precisely, limiting our scope to individuals who were previously registered as federal lobbyists prior to working for a Congress member or congressional committee. We also limited the dataset to individuals who previously lobbied and subsequently worked as either chief of staff (or deputy chief of staff) or legislative director for a Congress member. For committee staff, we limited our scope to individuals who work as chief (or lead or general) counsel or staff director. Given this, these data are limited in the following ways. First, records on lobbyist registrations do not exist prior to 1998. It is possible that more individuals who lobbied before 1998 are currently employed in Congress, but we have not been able to identify these individuals. Secondly, our data on committee staffers excludes those staffers who work for Senate committees. This omission was necessary because our data for House staffers came from "Statement of Disbursements" reports, published online for all House offices since 2009 and parsed from PDF files by the Sunlight Foundation. The Senate has not yet provided online access to their disbursement reports but is expected to make these available (again, in PDF format) online toward the end of 2011. The data for the 112th Congress came to the Center from a joint project with Remapping Debate, previously published on our website.