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Mendte: K Street Lobbyist

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MARYLAND HEIGHTS, MO. (KPLR11)-If you’re not familiar with K Street; you should be it is where the unofficial fourth branch of government is located in Washington D.C.  K Street is where the nation’s lobbyists are centered.  You’ve heard that Washington is bought and sold; the brokers for those deals are on K Street.

So how does one become a lobbyist, the best way is to first become a congressman.  Congress has become little more than a paid internship for K Street.

Since 1998, 79% of retired congressmen have done lobbying work.

Those lucky enough to work on k street full time earn an average of $1.8 million dollars a year or more than ten times their congressional salary.

There is a law that prevents members of congress from going right to K Street; they have to wait a year.

But there is a big loophole in that law, retiring congressman and senators may interview on K Street while they are still in office.

Many are retiring at the end of this term and K Street is drooling over them like Wall Street drools over Ivy League MBA graduates.

Powerful congressmen like Heath Shuler a democrat from North Carolina is already talking to K Street firms even though he has 9 months left to serve.

Think about that; so K Street is legally allowed to offer all of this money to a retiring powerful congressman while he is still in office and its not just Shuler, there are dozens expected to retire this year.

This is exactly why so many dirty deals get done at the end of a congressional session.

Congress needs to immediately close this loophole; in fact how about a law that congressmen can’t go work on K Street.   That would be the right thing to do and that’s why it will never happen.