Every two years around this time, a migration takes place in Washington, D.C., as retired and defeated lawmakers make the short trek to K Street and begin a new career in influence peddling.
But there’s a problem this year with the cushy gigs that typically await former senators and members of Congress — there aren’t enough of them to go around. Out-of-work Republicans in particular are so plentiful, and so many of them are eager to push their way through the revolving door, that “not all of them are likely to find work,” Politico reports.
“Former Republican congressmen are a dime a dozen right now,” said former Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), who left Congress a decade ago and is now a lobbyist for Holland & Knight.
“I think there are still a lot of people who are scrambling and looking” for new jobs, he added.
“There’s not enough seats for everybody who wants in,” one Republican lobbyist said, comparing the process to musical chairs.
Tom Reynolds, a former congressman from New York who now works for the lobbying firm Holland & Knight, told Politico that there are more former members looking for gigs lobbying than he’s seen two decades. And while most of those ex-lawmakers are Republicans, there are Democrats eager to take a dip in the swamp too. Joe Crowley, the former New York congressman who was defeated in a primary by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is seen as “a top potential recruit on K Street,” and he’s had early discussions with at least two firms about making the move.
Not all former lawmakers are having trouble on K Street, though; some have already landed on their feet. Former Arizona senator Jon Kyl was a lobbyist before he entered politics in the late ’80s, and returned to the trade once again after leaving the U.S. Senate in 2013. He took a sabbatical from lobbying to replace the late Senator John McCain for a few months at the end of 2018, and just a week after leaving the Senate a second time, he returned to K Street yet again.