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Will Cutting Retirement Funds Stop Lobbying By Former Members Of Congress?

Yesterday, U.S. Representative Steve Israel introduced H.R. 5737, legislation that would remove federal retirement benefits for any “former Member of Congress receiving compensation as a highly-paid lobbyist”. Many former members of Congress, such as Newt Gingrich, make a killing using their connections as lobbyists to help corporate clients get special access, so that laws may be written in a way that’s profitable to them.

Reading this bill, I have two questions:

1. What if former members of Congress become lobbyists but are not highly paid?
2. Would H.R. 5737 stop retired members of Congress from becoming lobbyists?

5 thoughts on “Will Cutting Retirement Funds Stop Lobbying By Former Members Of Congress?”

  1. t ball says:

    It will not stop. They likely wouldn’t pass such a bill at all, but if they did, they would write it so that they could get retirement benefits back as soon as they left their lobbying jobs. And, of course, they would also set the bar for “highly paid” pretty high and include only salary so that they could collect other forms of compensation.

    But really, I’ll be shocked if this bill ever comes to vote.

  2. Jerry Thomas says:

    We need reform that is not so specifically directed but controls the retirement system for all former members of Congress. Lobbying should be dealt with in a more straight forward manner.


  3. Jerry Thomas says:

    If I could wave a magic wand (for brainstorming):

    There should be no retirement provisions in an employment relationship except in the current years pay structure (enough pay for the individual to invest in a retirement program of their own choosing). All employment must be covered by the social security retirement insurance program (no entity can be exempted (i.e. government,etc.) . The SS system should only target a basic level of income needed for a reasonable minimal living standard which is needed for a healthy nation. The employer can provide a broker benefit that assists employees in choosing retirement programs that are absolutely independent of the employer. As a part of pay, the employer may contribute to the employees retirement account with matching funds or profit sharing one year at a time (based on the current economic health of the employer with no future years of obligation). The individual is totally responsible for their own retirement planning above SS and the system has immediate vestment so that the individuals retirement plan has no binding effect on his choice of employment.

    Brainstorm this:

    To finance the SS system (and other entitlements such as healthcare) do away with the payroll tax completely and fund entitlements through a federal sales tax that would include financial transactions such as the sale of stock, other. Federal sales taxes should be restricted to entitlement financing only because sales taxes tend to be regressive. Since entitlements are directed to all individuals maybe the regressive nature of sales taxes is justified. There are very significant benefits to this approach as follows:

    o a significant reduction to the cost of goods manufactured making our goods more competitive on the global market.

    o the goods we import would be contributing to our entitlement programs.

    o the visibility of individuals to the government could be reduced (could the SS# be eliminated?)

    o everyone that buys anything is contributing to the entitlement system.

  4. Kathy says:

    Many members of Congress get elected with the goal of becoming a lobbyist after a short stint in Congress because that’s where the money is. So I doubt anything is going to stop former members from lobbying.

  5. Tom says:

    Since the primary goal of Congress these days (since as long as i can remember – at least from Nixon onward) is to make themselves wealthier while doing the corporate agenda, i propose we get rid of Congress and replace it with a truly representative structure of non-partisan, independent people from each state who can think clearly, are NOT wealthy, are tasked with solving REAL people problems (like unemployment and the ridiculous cost of “healthcare”), and paid according to the current scale. They would be elected via publicly funded elections with public access tv and radio ads and mail circulars on their stance to issues of common public importance and would have to balance the budget and keep it that way. Lobbyists would be shot on sight, or hung at noon on the grounds of the White House.

    This is of course a “pipe dream” and will never happen, since corruption is built in to the system (i think it’s a design flaw of humanity, like psychopathy) and won’t easily be removed.

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