More than 400 former members of Congress have passed through the revolving door by making the move to K Street as lobbyists or as senior advisers performing similar work, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.
The trend of former members, congressional staffers, and federal workers going into the lobbying sector has drastically increased in comparison to those without federal government experience since 1998. While revenues from lobbyists without government experience has remained relatively stable from 1998 to 2012, revenues from lobbyists with government experience has jumped over 400 percent during that same time period.
According to the most recent data from the Center for Responsive Politics, 427 former members of Congress have moved into the lobbying sector or to identical areas of work.
Of those who have left Congress either by defeat or by retirement in recent years, most have moved to lobbying or work that is nearly identical in nature.
Out of the 75 members who left the 113th Congress, 42 have found new employment. Of those, 45.2 percent went to work for lobbying firms while another 19 percent went to a lobbying client, meaning that 64.2 percent have found post-congressional work in the lobbying sector. Another 7.1 percent stayed within the government by moving to a federal agency. The remaining 28.6 percent of former members included in the center’s database went to a private organization.
Of the 97 members who left the 112th Congress, 48 found new work with 34.6 percent shifting to lobbying firms and an additional 32.7 percent going to work for a lobbying client. Of the remaining members who departed the 112th Congress, 7.7 percent went to a federal government agency with 3.8 percent going to state governments. Just 19.2 percent transferred to a private organization.
As for the 118 members who left the 111th Congress, 78 landed new jobs with 35.9 percent ending up at lobbying firms while an additional 21.8 percent found jobs with lobbying clients. Ten percent of these former members went to another government agency while 9 percent went to state governments. Only 19.2 percent transitioned to a private organization.
The number of former congressional members making the move into lobbying has seen a major shift since 1974 when only three percent of those in Congress became lobbyists after their stints in Congress.
Additionally, since 1998, the amount of money lobbying firms spend has more than doubled.
$1.45 billion was put towards lobbying-related purposes in 1998; that number hit $3.24 billion in 2014. The number of registered lobbyists slowly climbed from 10,405 in 1998 to a high of 14,847 in 2007. Last year, a total of 11,870 people were registered as lobbyists.