Emerson was in formal talks with electric co-op days after reelection


On Nov. 19, nine business days after she won reelection with 72 percent of the vote, Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo., began final negotiations for a new job with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, official documents show.

According to ethics rules set in place meant to avoid conflict of interest, Members of Congress are required to file disclosures with the House Ethics Committee and the Senate Office of Public Records within three business days after they begin to negotiate for a future job while they are still in Congress. However, the definition of "negotiation" is left ambiguous and leaves room for "preliminary or exploratory" talks before any report is required. Reports are filed on paper at the ethics committees offices and, while available to the public, are not posted online.

While the stamp date on the document shows that disclosure was filed on Nov. 16, Emerson appears to have signed the document on Nov. 23. The Reporting Group contacted her office and the ethics committee for a clarification and will update this post if more information is provided.

Rep. Emerson also filed another form, dated Dec. 3, to recuse herself from any official matter that would affect the National Rural Electric Co-op. As Sunlight reported earlier, over the past two decades, the co-op has contributed more than $72,000 to Emerson and her husband, the late Rep. Bill Emerson, whom she succeeded in office, as well as another $20,000 to GO JO, Emerson's leadership PAC.

Two other House members have filed notifications disclosing they are negotiating future employment: Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, who was defeated in the Democratic primary after facing a newly drawn distirct, and Rep. Dan Boren, D-Okla., who announced his retirement earlier this year.

Rep. Kucinich disclosed being in talks with the Keppler Speakers Bureau–a forum for universities and other organizations to find a high profile speakers suited to their audience–in August. Among the Keppler speakers demanding fees of at least $50,000 for appearances are British comedian John Cleese, documentary maker Ken Burns, and former basketball player Magic Johnson.

Rep. Boren repored he was negotiating a position with Chickasaw Nation, where he will begin working in January 2013 after his current term ends.

Similar forms for members on the Senate side show Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., hit the job market after an upset loss to conservative candidate, Richard Mourdock, who went on to lose to Democratic candidate, Joe Donnelly. He was in talks with Georgetown University, the University of Indianapolis and Keppler Associates, the parent company of Keppler Speakers Bureau. Lugar recently told a reporter that he is "lining up teaching jobs Indiana University and the University of Indianapolis.”

Lawmakers looking for their next engagement after they have lost an election are not required to file similar paperwork.

House and Senate Documents