I know I've been picking on Peter Orszag a lot today, but I just learned it's his birthday. In the spirit of giving, then, I'll present a handful of cashouts that are more unseemly than Orszag's. I haven't ordered these, and I'm probably leaving out some good ones (but, hey, it's a last-minute gift).
Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.): As Commerce Committee chairman, Tauzin was a main author of the Medicare prescription drug benefit, subsidizing drug companies. As Barack Obama pointed out on the campaign trail, the bill guaranteed inflated drug prices by barring Medicare from negotiating for better deals. Then the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America hired him as their top lobbyist.
Rep. Michael Oxley (R-Ohio): As I wrote in January of the co-author Sarbanes-Oxley: “So what do you do after imposing complex and burdensome new regulations on the stock market? You become the lobbyist for the stock market. Oxley, an advisor to the board of NASDAQ, which is a for-profit company, is now officially a lobbyist for NASDAQ.
Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.): Republican Senate leaders monetizing their public service is nothing rare — it's par for the course (see lobbyist Bob Dole and health-care consultant Bill Frist). But Lott's timing was the truly incredible part. Democrats passed a bill in early 2007 that extended from 1 year to 2 years the “cooling-off period” during which ex-lawmakers can't lobby their former colleagues. Rather than serve out the term to which his constituents had elected him, Lott resigned in late 2007 before the new lobbying law went into effect. “Public service,” indeed. Now Patton Boggs just bought the Breaux-Lott lobbying firm.
Peter Robeson and Michael Paese (D): Two top banking staffers for Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank cashed out after the 2008 election, when financial regulation — the bill that would become known as Dodd-Frank — began moving. Paese went first to the main industry lobby, SIFMA, and then to Goldman Sachs. Frank was displeased, and barred these revolvers from lobbying Financial Services staff.
Theo Lubke: Tim Geithner appointed Lubke to a spot at the NY Fed, where he was a point man on regulating derivatives. Today, we learned that Goldman has hired him away from the Fed to work on derivate regulation.
Carmencita Whonder (D): Okay, so a Schumer banking staffer cashed out to K Street and started working for hedge funds. What's the big deal? Well, it sure looks like a racket by Schumer when you sniff out the facts: First Schumer told hedge funds to lobby more. Upon her retirement, Schumer publicly declared his closeness to her. A bunch of hedge funds hired her. Then she started raising money from hedge funds for Schumer and other Senate Dems. It's more like Schumer deployed her to colonize hedge funds for the Democrats.
Arhshi Siddiqui and other health-care “reform” authors: She was the first of the Democratic health-care staffers to cash out after writing the “reform.” Siddiqui — whom Nancy Pelosi thanked by name on the floor for her work on this bill — jumped ship a couple of weeks later for Akin Gump, whose clients include Aetna, Pfizer, General Electric, and PhRMA. Others followed her in The Great Health-Care Cashout.
The Alaska Mafia: Dozens of former staffers to Lisa and Frank Murkowski, Ted Stevens, and Don Young are on K Street now where they pocket a percentage of every pork project, every no-bid contract, and every handout these lawmakers get for Alaska. Then they all raise money for Lisa.