Former lobbyists working for Congress outnumber elected lawmakers

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons/jlcwalker

Former lobbyists now working as congressional staffers by far outnumber elected members of Congress, according to a new analysis by the research group LegiStorm.

Out of about 14,000 people on the current congressional payroll, 605 have lobbied Congress for outside interests in the last ten years; they are only a fraction of the 5,400 current and former congressional staffers that have come through the revolving door in the last decade.

“On average, every business day this year at least two Hill staffers have decided to cash in their experience and connections to become registered lobbyists,” said Jock Friedly, founder and president of LegiStorm.

Since January 2011, 388 congressional aides have become newly-minted lobbyists. Meanwhile, in that time, 155 lobbyists have become congressional staffers.

The majority of former lobbyists joining this year are Republicans given the GOP-led House.

The record number of lobbyists entering Congress was in 2007, when 206 lobbyists joined Congress.

These numbers do not consider hundreds of other individuals who may be able to evade registering as lobbyists because they are doing work, such as grassroots lobbying, public relations or policy analysis, that doesn’t trigger reporting requirements, or spending less than 20 percent of their time lobbying.

“For every person the American people have elected to sponsor legislation of public benefit, special interests have more than one former legislative advocate now working on the inside in Congress,” said in a story on the group’s website. “That represents a large network of people to influence decisions and to provide valuable intelligence.”

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