K Street doesn’t need just any old retired lawmakers

Political Theater, Episode 92

Gone are the days when retired lawmakers had a glide path to K Street and trade association gigs. These days, lawmakers need to show more than just a résumé to have a lucrative career in advocacy. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lobbying firms on K Street and trade associations used to be a sure bet for retiring members of Congress. Not anymore.

Julian Ha, a recruiter on K Street and an adviser to FiscalNote, the company that owns CQ Roll Call, joins the podcast along with CQ Roll Call senior writer Kate Ackley to talk about the current state of lobbying positions for former lawmakers.

While the swamp employment situation may no longer be “constipated,” as Ha described in a previous podcast with us, that doesn’t mean any old retiring lawmaker has some kind of glide path to a cushy post-Congress career. 

“The attraction of former members to gravitate toward senior trade associations, CEO positions, has really changed. That landscape has shifted,” Ha says. 

That is for a variety of reasons, among them the consolidation of positions and the industry, costs, changes in missions and approach of organizations, and a desire for more expertise, connections or that most elusive of characterizations, a brand. 

That doesn’t mean members of Congress are out of favor. There will always be a place for high-profile ones and those who fit a niche. 

But the easy transition to a life in the advocacy world for those walking away from the Capitol is a thing of the past. 

Show Notes:

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