Don’t feel sorry for Eric Cantor: Ex-House leader stands to do well working as a lobbyist

Former House leader Eric Cantor couldn’t wait to quit Congress after the 11 years he spent in the leadership were unpredictably brought to a close after his loss to economics professor Dave Brat.

He couldn’t wait to get his hands on the money the private sector wanted to offer for his expertise, either. At least that’s now former colleagues and aides have been suggesting.

According to Politico, the move to simply quit Congress four months short of his official departure plays well into a possible shift into the private sector. By leaving now, Cantor doesn’t have to offer any details to the public on what companies he’s been considering to work for.

Close allies and friends claim he was ready to move on the day after his loss.

Sadly for us, people like Cantor often move out of Congress to continue to work on shaping policy, but from the outside. Whereas in 1974, about 3 percent of retiring Senators found a job with some lobbying firm, about 50 percent of Senators today are able to successfully quit Congress to become lobbyists.

The presence of a Senator in a firm’s lobbying team is valuable because, over time, former lawmakers are able to use their contacts, meaning more access to means of tilting policies toward what the firm’s clients have in mind.

As you may know by now, when big business is able to shift policies, everybody loses. Competition loses its strength once the big guns take the lead in the legislative process through their access to lawmakers, forcing consumers to settle for less than they deserve or need since stalled competition means fewer options.

While all we know about Cantor’s move by now is based on speculation, it’s important to remember that cases of lawmakers moving into the lobbying business are extremely common. The process is rigged from the start, and it’s up to us to hold all members of the game accountable. Big business should also feel our wrath via boycotts, but lawmakers should work to protect your property and freedom, not to secure their career through their access to the legislative body.


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