Who walks through the revolving door? Examining the lobbying activity of former members of Congress
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Government watchdog groups and the government itself have shown concern about the ‘revolving door’ of employees moving from Congress to private lobbying organizations. As of yet, the academic literature analyzing who becomes a revolving door lobbyist is small but growing. We contribute to this literature by examining which former members of Congress become lobbyists. We construct a data set of all members of Congress who left the institution between 1976 and 2012, identifying those who go on to register as lobbyists. We observe several trends. Among these: there is not a significant difference in the rates at which former House members and senators become lobbyists; institutional standing (in the form of party leadership and other such positions) has a profound effect on which former House members become lobbyists, but less so among former senators; and there is some evidence that Republican former senators are more likely to become lobbyists than Democratic former senators, but this party difference is virtually absent among former House members.
KeywordsCongress lobbyists revolving door interest groups
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