Reforming your way to riches: Stupak gets his big K St. payday 

Remember how the health-care bill was about "standing up to the special interests" and the lobbyists? Tell that to Democrat Bart Stupak, perhaps the single most important rank-and-file House member in passing the bill, who just got a fat new gig on K Street.

The lobbying firm Venable, which includes CareFirst BlueCross as a client, sent out an announcement about its hire of Stupak, who retired last year. Here's how the letter begins:

Please see news below that former nine-term Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Michigan), who played a lead role in passage of the landmark health care legislation of 2010, has joined Venable LLP as a Legislative and Government Affairs partner in the firm?s Washington office.

It was commonly accepted that Stupak's central role in passing ObamaCare made his defeat in 2010 inevitable, compelling him to retire. So, just as with North Dakota Democrat Earl Pomeroy, "reforming" health care may have cost Stupak a seat in Congress, but it also helped win him a job on K Street.

I've also noted that plenty of the staff-level authors of the health-care bill have since cashed out to lobby for health-care companies. I call it The Great Healthcare Cashout.

But there's a key point to make beyond health care. From Venable's announcement:

Mr. Stupak played a major role in setting government policy and legislation in a variety of key sectors, including energy, healthcare, telecommunications and international trade.  Under his leadership, the subcommittee launched investigations into security breaches at U.S. nuclear labs and facilities, food and drug safety, and commodity markets manipulation.

This is one more example of what I noted about Rep. Bill Delahunt's (D-Mass.) cashout: increasing government involvement in the economy boosts your future value as a lobbyist.

Here's another notable part of Venable's announcement:

Congressman John Dingell, who represents Michigan's 15th Congressional District, echoed these sentiments, saying, "Bart Stupak is a superb lawyer and he knows the business of oversight as well as anyone in Washington.  After honorably serving the people of Michigan's First Congressional District for many years and teaching at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, Bart has the experience and expertise to thrive at Venable."

Democrats often like to bash lobbyists in general. Turns out they often love them in particular.

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Timothy P. Carney

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