Stop the Revolving Door

LANSING – The Michigan Campaign Finance Network joined other reform advocates today in calling for a mandatory pause in the ‘revolving door’ between high-level public service and paid lobbying.

Michigan is in the minority nationally in not requiring an interruption between legislating or executive administration and professional persuasion directed at former colleagues. Seven states ban such activity for two years. Another 21 states require a one-year pause in the revolving door.

“Plainly stated, revolving door legislation is a safeguard to keep legislators and administration executives from compromising the public interest to ingratiate themselves to prospective employers,” said Rich Robinson of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. “A pause in the revolving door also constrains exploitation of personal relationships for special interests’ gains. Particularly in the term-limits era, when you have 40 to 80 former legislators seeking new employment every two years, the public needs this kind of protection.”

The Michigan House passed a revolving door bill in 2007 on a vote of 99-6. The bill had 75 co-sponsors, broadly representative of both parties. The Michigan Senate has yet to take action on that bill or any other revolving door legislation.

“Interest groups spent $32 million on lobbying last year and they’ll undoubtedly spend more than that this year. They’ll give officeholders millions of dollars in campaign contributions this year – even the lame ducks who aren’t running for anything. That’s plenty of ‘free speech’ and ‘access.’ They don’t need to be offering lucrative employment, too,” Robinson said.

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