Thanks to Craig Newmark, we now know where two more former staffers of resigned, retired or defeated members of Congress are now. Wayne Palmer, the former chief of staff to Sen. Rick Santorum, now lobbies for Astrazeneca Pharmaceuticals LP, while Tim Berry, the former chief of staff for Rep. Tom DeLay lobbies for Time Warner.
We now have four lobbyists verified, only 44 to go!
Craig pithily characterizes why we’re keeping track of the whereabouts of former staffers:
This is the “revolving door” thing, of concern since some staffers, working for shadowy politicians, might do more damage as lobbyists.
Well, Sunlight now has a program tracking ’em, called Where are They Now?, asking everyone to verify if the former aides are now entrenched as lobbyists. That doesn’t necessarily make ’em bad; everyone has the possibility of redemption.
Not necessarily bad, but it is something that should be disclosed and that the public should know. When average citizens are concerned about issues–say, the price of prescription drugs or the cost of their cable service–they write or email or phone up their representatives in Congress. When well-heeled interests are concerned about issues, they hire former insiders to do their talking for them, largely because they believe the insiders have better access to the levers of power. It’s something worth keeping track of. And with the tool, it’s something anyone can help do with a minimum of effort — call it two-minute muckracking.