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Mar 05, 2012

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Not Abramoff

Don't be so convinced that when a Member retires or loses his or her office that the staff isn't connected. The Hill is a small place and connections to other committees, subcommittees, and personal staff can go along way. I have worked with Congress a lot through the years and most often I meet with a staff directors, counsels, LAs, and other staffers, not the actual elected official. This might be less of a problem in the Senate where there is a two-year cooling off period, but the problem with public servants cashing in and trying to influence their old friends is alive and well in both branches of government.

Bryan Rahija

Hi Karen,

Thank you for reading and writing in. It's not just about influence -- it's also about trust and the integrity of our political system. How can we be certain that our legislative process is working in the interest of the public--and not skewed heavily towards the interests of a privileged few--with so many staffers crossing over to the private sector? Are we comfortable with the notion that public service is simply a training ground for the lobbying of special interests?

Karen Ripple

You need to consider how many of the House members are still in office. If these former staffers are to wield such influence over Congress from their new positions, then they need an avenue to do that. When a House member retires (Tanner) or is not reelected (Kratovil), then where's the influence?

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