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I’M NOT SURE I AGREE WITH THIS: The Ocasio-Cortez–Cruz Bill Would Almost Certainly Be Unconstitutional. There’s a first amendment right to petition the government, but there’s not a first amendment right to lobby on behalf of paying clients when you have a conflict of interest. I’d have to think about this more, but I find Cooke’s invocation of the right to petition unpersuasive. You have a constitutional right to engage in sexual intimacy, too, but you don’t have a constitutional right to work as a prostitute. It’s certainly not as open-and-shut a case as some of my libertarian friends are suggesting.

But don’t worry: There are no constitutional problems with my revolving-door surtax!

THEY’RE BOTH RIGHT: Ted Cruz agrees with Ocasio-Cortez: There should be a ban on lawmakers becoming lobbyists.

And we also need my revolving-door surtax.

FASTER, PLEASE: Overdue Overhaul: Security Clearance Reform in a Decade of Leakers, Spies and Insider Threats.

The most significant overhaul of the security clearance process in 50 years appears to finally be at hand. At the end of February, the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center and the deputy director of the Office of Personnel Management – working through the interagency Security, Suitability, and Credentialing Performance Accountability Council – announced that the Trusted Workforce 2.0 framework would be implemented soon, once White House review of the framework is complete.

Trusted Workforce 2.0 is intended to improve the government’s personnel vetting and security clearance processes. Media reporting indicates that this improvement will be based on six primary pillars: more nimble policymaking and clear policy for implementation; ensuring personnel vetting is tailored, reciprocal between agencies, and includes continuous vetting (which will tie into insider threat programs) rather than laborious periodic reinvestigations; aligning and streamlining security, suitability and credentialing processes; reducing the number of investigative levels, or tiers, from five to three (Trusted, Secret and Top Secret); expanding the spectrum of investigative methods, including the use of digital interview channels; and implementing a trusted information provider program to improve efficiency by allowing investigators to leverage certain information that has already been collected by designated government and private sources.

I might go further, and have security clearances automatically withdrawn at the end of government employment, available for reissue, but not automatically reissued, on an as-needed basis for consult work.

Consider a part of Glenn’s revolving door tax surcharge plan.

ELIZABETH WARREN: Break Up Tech Giants.

Me, several months ago: Donald Trump must bust Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google monopolies like Teddy Roosevelt.

How long before she pushes the Revolving-Door Surtax, and starts agitating to repeal the Hollywood Tax Cuts?

ANTITRUST: Why Regulators Went Soft on Monopolies: Federal officials become economists and lawyers who help kill competition for their corporate clients. Welcome to the new Gilded Age.

Antitrust authorities once fought against monopolies, but for the past four decades they have given a green light to merger after merger. The guardians who were meant to protect competition have become the principal cheerleaders of monopolies.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have become revolving doors for highly paid economists and lawyers whose only goal is to look after their corporate clients rather than voters, consumers, workers, suppliers, and competition.

Another argument for my revolving-door surtax.

Plus: Donald Trump must bust Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google monopolies like Teddy Roosevelt.

HMM: Amazon on Democrat-Hiring Binge.

Amazon is getting ready for the new Democratic House — and building a wall of protection against any potential focus on its growth and influence.

In the last month the tech, commerce, and media giant has hired three key Democratic aides, who will help with legislation and diversity issues.

The trade outlet Legistorm reported the latest hire and blogged, “Amazon is continuing its hiring sweep of Congress, adding its third Democratic aide in a month.”

It reported the hiring of Tina Tower as a program manager for public policy. She was Massachusetts Democrat Sen. Ed Markey’s assistant to the chief of staff.

And Politico reported two other big hires, House chiefs of staff LaDavia Drane and Tony Clair to handle the company’s ties to the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

The outlet said that Drane came from the office of New York Rep. Yvette Clarke and Clair from North Carolina Rep. G.K. Butterfield.

Another argument for my revolving-door surtax.

I THINK WE NEED TO KEEP THEM OUT OF SHADY LAND DEALS, A LA HARRY REID: Elizabeth Warren wants to bar Congress from owning individual stock.

Better still, she could get behind my — bipartisanly endorsed! — revolving door surtax.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: The Obamas are worth 30 times more than when they entered the White House in 2008.

Yet another argument for my revolving-door surtax.

KENTUCKY REP. BLASTS ‘PAY-TO-PLAY’ CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES: Ask Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) about Congress and the first thing he’s likely to talk about is his anger about how a representative’s committee assignments are determined by how much money he or she can raise for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) or the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).

LifeZette’s Connor Wolf got that and more from Massie in a great interview about how to drain the swamp. Connor is doing a series of such interviews with Members of Congress. Go here, here and here for previous installments.

ENDORSED: We Should Tax The Clintons And Other Former Senior Government Employees At A Higher Rate.

Sadly, this paper entirely fails to mention my revolving-door surtax proposal.

DRAINING THE SWAMP STARTS WITH STOPPING THE REVOLVING DOOR: That’s the advice of Rep. Ron DeSantis in an interview with LifeZette’s Connor Wolf. Here’s a multiple choice question for you: How many former senators and representatives are now working Congress as lobbyists? 25 percent? 51 percent? 73 percent? 100 percent? This is not a trick question.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Campaign contributor helped Obamas score Netflix deal.

Or as Byron York explains it:. “How it works: Netflix exec & wife bundle big donations to Obama in ’08. Wife is rewarded with ambassadorship. Now Netflix exec steers $50m contract to Obamas through ‘Higher Ground Productions.'”

Yet another argument for my revolving-door surtax.

SWAMPLAND: Trump’s Appointees Pledged Not to Lobby After They Leave. Now They’re Lobbying.

Glenn’s revolving-door surtax — now with bipartisan appeal!

SORT OF LIKE MY REVOLVING-DOOR SURTAX PROPOSAL: Should We Tax the ‘Clintons’ and Other Former Senior Civil Servants More? Yes, We Should.

BLOOMBERG: Obama Goes From White House to Wall Street in Less Than One Year. “Obama is coming to Wall Street less than a year after leaving the White House, following a path that’s well trod and well paid. While he can’t run for president, he continues to be an influential voice in a party torn between celebrating and vilifying corporate power. His new work with banks might suggest which side of the debate he’ll be on and disappoint anyone expecting him to avoid a trap that snared Clinton.”

Hey, they didn’t call him President Goldman Sachs for nothing.


But it’s yet another argument for my Revolving-Door Surtax.

Flashback: Joe Biden to Goldman Sachs execs: “I’m doing a job interview with you.”

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: New Centene CEO is another example Obamacare’s architects getting rich off Obamacare.

Sarah Kliff’s take is a ludicrously generous assessment. The reporter is referring to the recent decision by former CEO, Kevin Counihan, to join a health insurance company, Centene. Unlike many other insurers who have withdrawn from the exchanges, Centene is finding success in Obama’s wonderland. Amusingly, Kliff suggests Counihan for moral rather than monetary reasons.

I think her assessment is a stretch.

As the former head of the federal health exchange, Counihan is well placed to guide Centene towards new profits. And it’s clear where those profits wait. As I’ve explained, Centene’s business model is utterly dependent on the Obama administration’s massive expansion of Medicaid. Indeed, with 3.5 million of Centene’s customers on Medicaid, the government trough is Centene’s heart, aorta, and lifeblood.

Counihan will be able to grease Centene’s wheels by engaging with his contacts to help his new employer anticipate regulatory changes and subsidies. In return, Counihan is likely to collect a healthy paycheck.

Yet another argument for my revolving-door surtax.

ATTRACTED TO MONEY AND POWER LIKE A MOTH TO A FLAME: Silicon Valley is ‘officially a retirement community for D.C. political vets’

Veterans of high-profile political campaigns and White House administrations such as LaBolt — who in years past would have turned their public-service resumes and connections into jobs as lobbyists on K Street, advisers at Fortune 500 firms or leaders of nonprofits — are increasingly heading west, attracted by the opportunities to put their political skills to use in the technology industry. It can lead to strange bedfellows: Democrats and Republicans who fought each other while working on opposing campaigns find themselves working on shared goals and trying to effect change outside the nation’s gridlocked capital.

It’s a new gold rush — to social media companies, tech start-ups, incubators and key players in the sharing economy.

“Mall shoes. White cars. Buffet specials. Come and get it, this town is now officially a retirement community for D.C. political vets,” said Matt McKenna, who worked for Clinton for nearly a decade of his post-presidency before joining the ride-sharing company Uber and then launching a crisis-communications firm in Sausalito.

Beyond healthy six-figure salaries and better weather than Washington, D.C., the moves make sense — skills developed in politics are in critical demand in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley.

Isn’t it time that the wealthy and well-connected technorati give something back via Glenn’s revolving-door surtax?

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Barack Obama Is Using His Presidency to Cash In, But Harry Truman and Jimmy Carter Refused.

Another argument for my revolving-door surtax.

SUCK-UP WATCH: Having backed the losing candidate, Google now tries to align with Trump. “Despite Google’s support of Clinton, and Trump’s tendency to hold grudges, the tech behemoth may very well succeed in its efforts to embed itself in the new power structure.” And apparently they’re doing okay:

Joshua Wright, long an ally of Google, is in charge of the transition team at the Federal Trade Commission. The Intercept noted Wright is “pulling off the rare revolving-door quadruple-play,” having moved from academic work supported by Google to FTC commissioner, back to Google-supported work and now back to the federal government.

As a George Mason University law professor, Wright wrote at least four academic papers while being funded by Google that argued the company hadn’t violated antitrust laws by favoring its own sites in search engine results.

After Wright became a FTC commissioner in 2013, he recused himself from any cases involving Google for two years. He returned to George Mason in August 2015, but also began working with the law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Google’s primary outside law firm.

Now Wright could very well be named chairman of the FTC in the coming months.

Stay tuned.


Residency issues knocked out a handful of Harry Reid’s colleagues over the years, but the outgoing Senate Democratic leader didn’t even pretend that he got back to his home state of Nevada on a regular basis.

“It’s amazing what I have not done,” said Reid in the recent cover story for GW Magazine. “I don’t go home every week. I never have, even when I was in the House. I don’t like banquets, parades.”

Reid has never been known to pull rhetorical punches, so his comments aren’t a complete surprise. But they are remarkable, considering how multiple senators during Reid’s three decades in Congress lost re-election, at least in part, because they were portrayed as having “gone Washington” and not spent enough time in their home states. . . .

In 2010, Reid called attacks on his residency “embarrassing” and called Searchlight (population: 539) home as Republicans highlighted his condo in Washington’s Ritz-Carlton.

Amazing that he could afford to live in the Ritz-Carlton as a public servant.

WELL, THAT WAS FAST: Google Gets A Seat On The Trump Transition Team:

Joshua Wright has been put in charge of transition efforts at the influential Federal Trade Commission after pulling off the rare revolving-door quadruple-play, moving from Google-supported academic work to government – as an FTC commissioner – back to the Google gravy train and now back to the government.

The Intercept has documented how Wright, as a law professor at George Mason University, received Google funding for at least four academic papers, all of which supported Google’s position that it did not violate antitrust laws when it favored its own sites in search engine requests and restricted advertisers from running ads on competitors. George Mason received $762,000 in funding from Google from 2011 to 2013.

Wright then became an FTC commissioner in January 2013, agreeing to recuse himself from Google cases for two years, because of his Google-funded research. He lasted at the FTC until August 2015, returning to George Mason’s law school (now named after Antonin Scalia). But Wright also became an “of counsel” at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Google’s main outside law firm. Wilson Sonsini has represented Google before the FTC.

Wright’s leadership position in the Trump FTC transition flips him back into government work. The FTC has two open seats on its five-member panel, and Chair Edith Ramirez’s term ends in April 2017. So Trump will be able to remake the agency, which has responsibilities over consumer protection and policing anti-competitive business practices, like the employing of monopoly power. Outside of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, no government agency is more responsible for competition policy than the FTC.

Yet another argument for my revolving-door surtax.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Podesta Kept Up With Former Investment Firm Employer While at White House.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman met and corresponded on multiple occasions in his capacity as a top White House adviser with a previous employer seeking energy policies that it described as a potential “gold rush,” hacked emails and public records show.

John Podesta was a top White House energy policy official before joining the Clinton campaign last year. He previously served on the board of renewable energy investment firm Equilibrium Capital. He owned stock in the firm and drew $4,000 in annual “board fees.”

White House ethics rules bar employees from working on issues affecting former clients or employers for two years after taking their jobs. However, internal emails show that Podesta was in contact with Equilibrium within months of joining the White House as the company pursued a new energy efficiency financing model that would steer it significant revenue.

Glenn’s revolving-door surtax is a marvelous idea, and in addition to that we ought to look into requiring that for the duration of their office, elected officials, cabinet officers, and Presidential appointees place their investments into a blind trust.

IT’S A POPULAR IDEA: Trump proposes term limits for Congress.

Donald Trump on Tuesday called for term limits in Congress as part of his new ethics reform proposal.

“If I’m elected president I will push for a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress,” Trump said at a rally in Colorado Springs, Colo. “Decades of failure in Washington and decades of special-interest dealing must and will come to an end.”

“Not only will it end our government corruption, but we will end the economic stagnation that we’re in right now — no growth,” Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, added of the proposal.

Trump released a five-point ethics plan Monday night in an effort to “drain the swamp” in Washington.

He also wants Congress to pass a law preventing all administration officials, lawmakers and congressional aides from lobbying the government for five years after leaving public service.

He should endorse my revolving-door surtax. It has bipartisan support!

TIME FOR MY REVOLVING-DOOR SURTAX: Evan Bayh’s extremely lucrative post-Senate career. “How lucrative is it to be a former member of Congress? Just ask Indiana Democratic Senate candidate Evan Bayh, who in just six years after leaving the Senate in 2011 built as much as $40 million in wealth — mostly from K Street lobbying firms and corporate board positions he never would have had except that he’s a former senator and governor.”

REGULATORY CAPTURE: Half of ex-insurance commissioners went to work for industry.

That’s according to a Center for Public Integrity investigation, which tracked career moves between 2006 and 2016. Of 109 commissioners who left their posts, 55 of them ended up working for the insurance industry.

The investigation also details some of the cozy relationships between the regulators and the companies they worked to regulate — from sharing fancy dinners and drinks to commissioners receiving industry campaign contributions.

“A lot of commissioners don’t want to alienate the industry,” says Sally McCarty, an ex-Indiana commissioner. “Many people consider the job an audition for a better-paying job.”

Here’s yet another area where Glenn’s revolving door surtax would do us some good.

REVOLVING DOOR? MORE LIKE REVOLTING DOOR: Fifth Estate? Or wholly-owned subsidiary of the Entertainment-Government Complex?

YEP: Dems tap K Street candidate Evan Bayh and embrace the revolving door.

When Evan Bayh left the U.S. Senate six years ago, he penned a righteous essay in the Washington Post about how broken the U.S. Senate is. He also sat down for an interview about Washington’s brokenness with a Post blogger in which Bayh expressed his desire “to be engaged in an honorable line of work.”

Then Bayh went to K Street to work for a lobbying firm and a hedge fund.

This summer, when revolving-door Democratic congressman-turned-K Street lobbyist Baron Hill was polling badly in the race to replace Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind. (the Republican senator-turned-lobbyist-turned-senator who is retiring this year), the Democratic leadership worked overtime to convince Bayh to swing back through the revolving door and run again.

If Trump’s smart he’ll highlight this and call for enacting my revolving-door surtax. Remember, it already has bipartisan support!

WASHINGTON’S HOLLOW MEN: Victor Davis Hanson fillets American elites.

…our modern American elite is a bit different. Residence, either in the Boston–Washington, D.C., or the San Francisco–Los Angeles corridor, often is a requisite. Celebrity and public exposure count — e.g., access to traditional television outlets (as opposed to hoi polloi Internet blogging). So does education — again, most often a coastal-corridor thing: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Berkeley, Stanford, etc. Net worth, whether made or inherited, helps. But lots of billionaires, especially Midwestern sorts, are not part of the elite, in that their money does not necessarily translate into much political or cultural influence — or influence of the right sort. (Exceptions are Chicago traders who bundle millions for Hillary.) Especially influential are the revolving-door multimillionaires, especially from big banks and Wall Street — the Tim Geithners, Jack Lews, Hank Paulsons, and Robert Rubins, but also the lesser flunkies of the Freddie/Fannie Clintonite crowd, a Franklin Raines (raking in $90 million) or a Jamie Gorelick ($26 million), all of whom came into the White House and its bureaucracies to get rich, but who always seem shocked when the public does not like their incestuous trails of bailouts, relief plans, favorable regulations, etc. Creepy too are the satellite grifters like “investment banker” Rahm Emanuel — who somehow, between the White House and the House of Representatives, made off with $16 million for his financial “expertise” — or Chelsea Clinton, who made her fortune ($15 million?) largely by being a “consultant” for a Wall Street investment group (her fluff job at NBC News was small potatoes in comparison). The locus classicus, of course, is the Clinton power marriage itself, which invested nearly 40 years of public service in what proved to be a gargantuan pay-for-play payoff, when they parlayed Hillary’s political trajectories into a personal fortune of well over $100 million. Give them credit: From the early days, when they would write off as IRS deductions gifts of their used underwear, they ended up 30 years later getting paid $10,000 to $60,000 a minute for their Wall Street riffs. The nexus between Big Government, Big Money, Big Influence, and Big Media is sometimes empowered by familial journalistic continuity (e.g., John Dickerson, son of Nancy Dickerson) or a second generation of fashion/glitz and media (Gloria Vanderbilt and Anderson Cooper), but again is increasingly expressed in the corridor “power couple,” the sorts who receive sycophantic adulation in New York and Washington monthly magazines.

Read the whole thing. Note Mr. Hanson mentions John Dickerson. Dickerson recently provided us with a small but documented example of how crooked elites attempt to manipulate media perception– a “nexus operation” combining the Big Media and Big Influence Mr. Hanson so brilliantly damns. When Dickerson interviewed Hillary on Face the Nation (May 8) he employed Hillary’s fake-description “inquiry” to describe the FBI’s criminal investigation. Yes, a privileged, leftish Washington media elite rhetorically colluding with a preferred political elite.

REVOLVING DOORS ARE SPINNING AT HYPER-SPEED AT THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BOARD: Three of the top four executives at the CFPB – the questionably constitutional hybrid agency created by President Obama and Elizabeth Warren – have left the bureau in recent months for lucrative positions in the financial industry, according to the Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group’s Richard Pollock.

Obama, Warren and the Democratic Congress in 2010 put CFPB under the Federal Reserve, ostensibly to insure its independence of financial industry special interests, but also effectively insulating it from congressional oversight, As Pollock reports, however, CFPB has instead become “a breeding ground for bureaucrats becoming highly paid executives in the very industry the bureau was created to regulate. The CFPB has an unusually high turnover rate for a government agency as nearly 50 top CFPB officials have abandoned the agency since its creation to take high-paying jobs in the industry.”


I HOPE GOOGLE REALIZES WHO IT’S GOTTEN INTO BED WITH, as one of these things is not like the other:

● The Android Administration — Google’s Remarkably Close Relationship With the Obama White House, in Two Charts.

Is Google Getting Ready to Put Obama on Board of Directors?

Obama Stands Silent, And Even Piles On, As Europe Attacks Google.

Whether or not Obama lands on the Google board, it’s a very safe bet that after our semi-retired president leaves office, he’s about to become the next Al Gore and Jamie Gorelick, parleying staggering incompetence as a government official into millions of dollars of additional net worth as a boardroom-hopping corporate executive. Where’s that revolving door surtax when you need it?

JUST A REMINDER: My revolving-door surtax plan has bipartisan support.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Former top deputy at consumer bureau quietly joins Capital One.

Another high-ranking official at the Obama administration’s financial protection agency has gone to Wall Street this month, The Hill has learned.

Meredith Fuchs, who most recently served as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) acting deputy director, has gone to the credit and banking giant Capital One.

She now serves as the bank’s senior vice president and chief counsel on regulatory issues, her recently updated LinkedIn page says. There have been no press releases from the agency or Capital One announcing her move.

Capital One and the CFPB did not immediately return a request for comment.

It is the latest in a slew of departures from the young agency, which was created by the Dodd-Frank financial reform law in 2010.

Since it opened its doors in 2011, at least 45 CFPB employees have left the agency for the private sector, snapped up by companies including JPMorgan Chase, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo, PayPal, Bank of America and BlackRock.

Just another argument for enacting my revolving-door surtax. And let’s face it — Elizabeth Warren and the other champions of this “consumer protection” agency knew this was going to happen all along. It’s not a bug, it’s a feature!

REVOLVING DOOR UPDATE: Former CFPB Lawyer Joins Goldman Sachs Online Lending Unit.

Yet another argument for my revolving door surtax.

GEE, WHICH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE BENEFITS FROM THIS ARTICLE? “We Keep Electing Outsiders; How’s That Working Out?”, Jonathan Allen asks at Roll Call:

Jimmy Carter kicked off the trend with a promise to restore honor to the White House. Ronald Reagan, the tough-talking movie star and California governor, vowed he’d get Washington’s spending and taxing under control. Bill Clinton, who had never worked in Washington, ran as the man from Hope. George W. Bush, despite being the son of a president, managed to come off as more Texan than political elite. Most recently, Barack Obama’s message and historic 2008 candidacy made it impossible for anyone to view him as an insider.

And yet, after electing this caravan of outsiders, voters still see Washington as a swamp of dysfunction, decadence and corruption. I readily admit I have more faith in our government and its leaders than most Americans do. But if you truly believe that Washington is getting worse, why keep electing the same kind of candidate?

If this sounds like an infomercial for Hillary Clinton, that’s likely not a coincidence. In December of 2009, NewsBusters spotted “another entry for the revolving door file: Politico’s Jonathan Allen…formerly of Congressional Quarterly and former Sen. Paul Sarbanes’ [D-MD] office, will take over as the top staffer at Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s DWS PAC,” Ken Shepherd wrote. “For his part, Allen, whose wife works as the communications director for freshman Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), found it an offer he couldn’t refuse.”

In February of 2010, when Allen returned to the Politico after admitting that he preferred pack journalism to working in a PAC, he sheepishly claimed:

I am a registered independent. My political views, like those of many Americans, are not neatly defined by anyone’s platform. I love the power of a good idea and get frustrated when I see the political system distorted by inertia or hypocrisy. I have voted for both Republicans and Democrats and even some third-party candidates. I am not by temperament a partisan or an ideologue. But there is no doubt that I have voted more often for Democrats, and when I decided to indulge my curiosity about life on the other side of the notebook it was most natural for me to align with them.

And judging by the above article, he’s still a Democrat operative, whether it’s with or without his byline.


Joe’s been rehearsing for that that gig since January of 2009; hasn’t he passed the audition yet?


Related: Glenn on employing the Pigouvian tax to slow the revolving door between Big Government and Big Business: “When the post-government-employment goodies are less good, they’ll pose less of a temptation.”

Not to mention, it’s the patriotic thing to do — just ask Biden himself!

TIM CARNEY: The Top 12 Revolving Door Moments Of 2015. Here’s just one:

President Obama said he was going to stop the revolving door, and he spoke as if Obamacare was a broadside to the industry. If you believed either of these lines, you were surprised in 2011 when Obama picked hospital executive Marilyn Tavenner as Medicare administrator. Not done with the revolving door, Tavenner cashed out in 2015 to become president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, the largest lobby for the insurance industry, which is — thanks to Obamacare — increasingly dependent on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for profits.

Follow the link for 11 more reasons to enact my revolving-door surtax.

HERE’S MORE ON MY revolving-door surtax plan.

I TALK ABOUT MY REVOLVING-DOOR SURTAX PLAN on the latest episode of How Do We Fix It?

THE HILL: ObamaCare’s revolving door.

Marilyn Tavenner, who spearheaded the fraught Affordable Care Act rollout for the Obama administration, is but the latest ACA insider to cash in. Lobbying for America’s Health Insurance Plans is a natural transition for the former director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Tavenner was chosen to run CMS principally because she was not a healthcare reformer like her predecessor, Dr. Donald Berwick, a pediatrician the Senate refused to confirm. Instead she was a colorless former apparatchik for Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), a company that once paid $1.7 billion in penalties for fraud.

The revolving door between industry and government existed long prior to the ACA, but the commingling of industry and government interests under the ACA brings with it new implications. Simply put, the ACA represents the biggest transfer of taxpayer resources to the private sector since Gilded Age railroad barons were beneficiaries.


REVOLVING DOOR UPDATE: Former Obamacare chief to lead top insurance lobby. “The former chief of Medicare and Medicaid, who was responsible for overseeing the implementation of President Obama’s healthcare law, will lead the insurance industry’s top lobbying group. Marilyn Tavenner, who in February stepped down from her role as chief administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, will become the new head of America’s Health Insurance Plans, which represents dozens of U.S. insurers.”

With that track record, you know she’s being hired for her connections and not for her skills. Yet another argument for my revolving-door surtax.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: After 6-Year Tenure Not Prosecuting Banks, Eric Holder Returns ‘Home’ to Defend Them.

Another argument for my revolving-door surtax.


How did Hastert happen to have enough money lying around that paying out $3.5 million was even within the realm of possibility?

Hastert’s ability to participate in the blackmail is, after all, itself a general indictment of D.C.’s “revolving door” money culture, in which former lawmakers move easily from government into lobbying.

Time for my revolving-door surtax.

ANNALS OF OUR RULING CLASS: The Great 2014 Cashout: Landrieu lands at oil-rich lobbying firm.

Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu was a centrist Democratic senator, and so of course she is now working at a lobbying firm. She was also very friendly to the oil industry, and so it’s unsurprising she cashed out to Van Ness Feldman, a firm heavy in the oil and gas industry. . . .

Like Dicks, Landrieu was an appropriator. Landrieu was also chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Van Ness Feldman’s client list includes energy companies American Electric Power, Warren Buffett’s Pacificorp, Danaher, the Arctic Slope Regional Corp. and utility Puget Equico, among others. . . .

Through the revolving door, Landrieu follows her classmates Saxby Chambliss (DLA Piper), Mark Pryor (Venable), Carl Levin (Hongman) and Mark Begich (Brownstein Hyatt). Did I miss anyone?

More arguments for my revolving door surtax. This would be a good campaign issue for an enterprising Presidential candidate.

SO MY REVOLVING-DOOR SURTAX JUST KEEPS LOOKING BETTER: Congressman Investigated By Feds Now Gets Paid By Feds To Lobby Congress.

CORRUPTION-FIGHTING! GOP lawmaker proposes lifetime lobbying ban. “Rep. Rod Blum (R-Iowa) introduced legislation on Tuesday to prevent members of Congress from ever becoming lobbyists after they leave office. Blum, a freshman lawmaker, argued his bill would help limit lobbyists’ influence on the legislative process so members of Congress won’t feel pressured to cater to their wishes for their own self-interest.”

We could still apply my revolving-door surtax to the Executive branch.

IRA STOLL: Preet’s Revolving Door. “You don’t have to be a cynic to see a kind of parallel between the actions of the former prosecutors and the accusations they are making against those they are prosecuting. One group is making money by trading on their insider knowledge and unique relationships. And the other group… I’d love to see the Times (or someone else) do an info-graphic with photographs of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s nine prosecutors who have left the Wall Street task force, along with the firms they have left for, the annual profits per partner at those firms, and the names of some of their new clients. Maybe we’ll try it here.”

Another case for my revolving-door surtax.

SHOCKER: Revolving door lets USAID officials get jobs with major N.C. contractor.

A North Carolina nonprofit awarded billions of tax dollars over the years by the U.S. Agency for International Development keeps a revolving door swinging for former government officials while spending heavily to lobby Congress to keep the federal money pouring into its corporate treasury.

RTI International’s development work has been criticized in a litany of inspector general reports over the past decade, but the Raleigh-based organization continues getting high-profile USAID contracts and hiring former top officials from USAID.

Nearly $208 million was awarded to RTI by USAID just in 2012, so it’s no surprise that federal funding has accounted for more than three quarters of the nonprofit’s revenue between 2009 and 2011, according to financial disclosure documents.

The nonprofit spent $377,825 on lobbying in 2012, according to its tax filings, relying heavily on Cornerstone Government Affairs for lobbying services in Washington. RTI paid Cornerstone $240,000 in 2012, putting the nonprofit among Fortune 500 firms that are also Cornerstone clients, including Microsoft, Boeing and GlaxoSmithKline.
. . .

Despite the nonprofit’s near-complete failure to comply with contract regulations requiring officials to turn over regular progress and expenditure reports, USAID handed RTI three consecutive contracts between 2003 and 2011, totaling more than $400 million dollars.

“There’s obviously a lack of oversight in administration of the funds USAID is awarding,” Scott Amey, general counsel of the nonpartisan Project on Government Oversight, told the Washington Examiner.

That may be a result of the fact that former USAID officials populate the ranks of RTI, with some running programs for the nonprofit that they oversaw at the agency. The issue raises questions about the agency’s impartiality when it comes to procurement.

Yet another argument for my revolving-door surtax!

BYRON YORK: GruberGate Shines Spotlight On ObamaCare Profiteers.

Remember when Nancy Pelosi declared that Obamacare was a jobs bill? “It’s about jobs,” Pelosi said in 2011, during a news conference to mark the first anniversary of passage of the Affordable Care Act. “Does it create jobs? Health insurance reform creates 4 million jobs.”

Like many other promises about Obamacare, that hasn’t worked out. But there is no doubt that Obamacare created a lot of work for at least one American — MIT professor Jonathan Gruber. Gruber’s frank admissions that he and others deceived the public about Obamacare have drawn a lot of attention in recent days. But the money that Gruber made from Obamacare raises yet another issue about his involvement in the project. Throughout 2009 and 2010, he energetically advocated a bill from which he stood to profit. And when it became law, the money rolled in.

In 2009, as Obamacare was moving its way through Senate committees, Gruber, who had achieved a measure of fame as the architect of Romneycare in Massachusetts, was a paid consultant to the Department of Health and Human Services. In March of that year, he received a contract for $95,000 to work on the project, and in June he received a second contract to continue that work; it was worth $297,600. Together, they comprise the “nearly $400,000” that critics have said Gruber received to work on Obamacare.

But after the bill became law, Gruber made a good deal more from it. The Affordable Care Act provided for states to set up exchanges to sell taxpayer-subsidized insurance coverage. For those states that chose to do so, exchanges would have to be built from the ground up. Studies would have to be done. Contracts would be let.

Just another argument for my revolving-door surtax!

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Tax Revolving Door Enriches Former IRS Officials Who Cash in by Navigating Inversions Through Rules They Wrote.

Yet another argument for my revolving-door surtax.

LOIS LERNER TOOK THE FIFTH, but now she’s telling Politico that she did nothing wrong, and that she’s the real victim here. And note the prominent play Politico gives to alleged anti-semitic epithets, and to Lerner’s brownie-baking. So why the media-rehab operation — and that’s what this is — and why now?

But it’s nice to hear that even the Washington revolving-door apparat finds her “untouchable.” Perhaps that’s because nothing much in this story suggests that she didn’t target Tea Party groups for partisan political reasons.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Politically Connected: Ties Link Embattled Government Bank, Well-Heeled Consultants.

Among other roles, Albright Stonebridge Group helps clients with government relations and crafts messaging plans for businesses. It is not, however, a registered lobbying firm, according to records at the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit that tracks how money and lobbying affect politics.

Still, many of ASG’s top officials share a history with the Export-Import Bank and worked with the government agency in a variety of capacities.

The close ties with the Ex-Im Bank paid off for three clients that, collectively, benefited from more than $6.3 billion in financing from the bank between 2009 and 2013: Siemens AG, First Solar and Dow Chemical Co.

During that same period, Albright’s daughter, Alice Albright, was Ex-Im’s chief operating officer and executive vice president.

Sounds like another argument for my revolving door surtax.

REVOLVING DOOR UPDATE: The Great Obamacare Cashout: Medicare overhaul chief cashes out to CareFirst.

Another argument for my revolving-door surtax.

REVOLVING DOOR: Russian Bank Hires Former Senators Trent Lott, John Breaux To Lobby Against U.S. Sanctions.

Still more support for my revolving-door surtax proposal.

HOW WASHINGTON’S REVOLVING DOOR Spurred Obama Administration’s Anti-Inversion Push. “If you were wondering why the White House suddenly took an interest in the consequences of tax inversion deals last spring, here is the reason – a pair of Wall Streeters with ties to the Obama administration made some calls on behalf of AstraZeneca which, you may recall, was trying to fend off an unwanted bid from Pfizer. Pfizer cited a tax inversion as one reason for its offer.”

So it was all about the Obama Administration taking a side in corporate maneuvering, and not about what was good for America. Color me shocked.

Hey, how about enacting my revolving-door surtax?

UPDATE: Oh, hey, and for bonus hypocrisy points, while blathering on about “economic patriotism,” the Obama Administration was actually backing a foreign company (AstraZeneca, which is British/Swedish) against an American company, Pfizer.

REVOLVING DOOR UPDATE: Eric Cantor Joins Wall Street Bank.

Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) has joined the global investment bank Moelis & Co. as vice chairman and managing director, the company announced Tuesday.

Cantor, who resigned from Congress during the August recess after losing his primary in June, will also be elected to the company’s board of directors.

Cantor will focus on client development and providing strategic advice.

Initially, Cantor will be given $1.4 million in cash and stocks. He will receive a base salary of $400,000 per year, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

On top of that, Cantor will receive $1.6 million in incentive cash and stocks in 2015.

The contract allows Cantor to leave the company after two years without a pay penalty to “take a full-time elected or appointed position in federal government, state government, or a national party.”

Just another argument for my revolving-door surtax.

REVOLVING DOOR UPDATE: The Hill: The Rise Of ‘Obama, Inc.’

The presidency of Barack Obama has catapulted a network of former advisers into lucrative positions.

Members of the president’s brain trust have steadily moved outside the administration in recent years, capitalizing on their association with the Obama brand to launch careers as advisors, consultants and hired guns.

“You see people not only serving as representatives of a lobbying firm but taking these very high-profile corporate jobs. I think that is becoming more common,” said Julian Zelizer, a political historian at Princeton University. “Businesses understand that this is a great opportunity for them.”

I’m sure it is. It’s also another argument for my revolving-door surtax.

SHOCKER: Revolving door at regulator CFPB enables former bureaucrats to cash in at taxpayers’ expense.

Peter Carroll helped shape the mortgage regulations at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau until this spring. Now, Carroll is senior vice president of capital markets at Wells Fargo Home Mortgages, the largest private mortgage lender in the country.

Carroll’s colleague, Lisa Applegate, was the “Mortgage Implementation Lead,” at CFPB, and now she’s “strategic quality manager within Wells’ home lending capital markets group,” according to American Banker magazine.

Carroll’s replacement at CFPB, Patricia McClung, was recently at the National Association of Realtors (one of the largest lobbying groups in the country), and for years was an executive at failed mortgage giant Freddie Mac.

What’s remarkable about the revolving-door action at the CFPB this year is that it’s completely unremarkable for the agency.

The Democratic Congress and the Obama White House created the CFPB with its 2010 Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill. The top aides to Messrs. Dodd and Frank, of course, have cashed out to K Street and Wall Street.

Yet another argument for my revolving-door surtax.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: The Hill: Regulator assailed for quick ‘spin through the revolving door.’

Still waiting for someone to introduce my revolving-door surtax. Rand Paul? Ted Cruz? Mike Lee? Marco Rubio?

Hey, how about you, Elizabeth Warren? You’re supposed to be against regulators who are in bed with industry, right?

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Derivatives regulator CFTC’s ‘revolving door’ move to industry group criticized.

An outgoing commissioner of the regulatory agency that oversees derivatives contracts will become the CEO of the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, a trade group for firms that engage in derivatives transactions, according to a statement from the ISDA Wednesday.

The commissioner, Scott O’Malia, had announced his departure from the Commodity Futures Trade Commission two days earlier. O’Malia, who had previously worked as a Senate staffer for Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Sen. Pete Domenici of New Mexico, was a Republican nominee to the five-member CFTC.

O’Malia’s move to a trade group involved in CFTC matters drew immediate criticism from financial reform advocates. The group Better Markets wrote in a statement that “O’Malia’s spin through the revolving door is a record setter for influence peddling.”

The Obama era has just been one big advertisement for my revolving door surtax.

REVOLVING DOOR UPDATE: U.S. Aides Find New Door To Jobs on Campuses Dealing With Sex Crimes.

To the list of defense contractors recruiting retiring Pentagon officials, corporate law firms hiring former SEC and Justice Department officials, and trade associations signing up former senators, add another new hot recruiting field for the private sector. Universities are snapping up employees with experience related to the federal Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, which is in charge of enforcing Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

That law is best known for boosting the presence of women’s sports on college campuses, spawning a sports-bra company of the same name. Lawyers with experience related to the federal Office of Civil Rights are in high demand at the moment, though, not because of any ability coaching undergraduate soccer players or designing athletic apparel. Rather, they are being sought after for their ability to coach college administrators through the legal mine field that is the latest guidance from the Obama administration on “Title IX and Sexual Violence.”

Later this month, Valerie Simons will start a $150,000-a-year job as Title IX coordinator at the University of Colorado. The Boulder Daily Camera reports that Ms. Simons “served as a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Education Section, where she was the lead attorney in charge of enforcing Title IX and other civil rights laws around the U.S.” In her new position, she will report directly to the university’s chancellor.

In May of this year, Stanford announced that Catherine Criswell would join that university as its Title IX coordinator after a 19-year career at the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.

Harvard last year hired as its Title IX coordinator Mia Karvonides, another Department of Education Office of Civil Rights lawyer; a Harvard memo at the time reported by the Boston Globe reported that her “duties at the Office of Civil Rights included investigating post-secondary and elementary/secondary institutions for compliance with Title IX. “

More such hires are on the way.

Write complicated, intrusive regulations — then get hired by their targets to help them comply, and to use your connections with the new crop of enforcers. Yet another argument for my revolving-door surtax.


I am writing to you because a good friend of mine, Republican Michael Burris, is running for Congress in Missouri’s 5th Congressional District – That seat is currently held by the Honorable Emanuel “the Tea Party spit on me” Cleaver, II. You might recall that Andrew Breitbart offered, I believe, $100K for video evidence of the Tea Party spitting on Cleaver as he, Nancy Pelosi and others trolled through a D.C event a few years ago looking for trouble. The money went uncollected for lack of evidence.

I mentioned to you before that Cleaver’s Congressional wages are currently being garnished to make good on a sizable SBA loan he took out on a car wash on which he defaulted. Cleaver also chiseled out about $50 million from Obama’s ARRA stimulus back in ’09. The money was earmarked for an inner city “Green Zone,” in which thousands of decrepit houses would be weatherized, streets repaved, sidewalks rebuilt and other handouts given. The vaunted Green Zone has been an abject failure. I think some Cleaver cronies probably lined their pockets, but very few houses got weatherized because it was just too expensive and impractical. New sidewalks and repaved streets lead to dysfunctional or closed schools. There are no jobs to be had. Living conditions among inner city blacks, Cleaver’s core constituency, are worse than before Obama took office with Cleaver’s help. In short, Cleaver needs to go.

Michael is in a tough primary race against 3 other Republican candidates, 2 of whom we just learned don’t even live in the district. The third is an unknown with no campaign presence whatsoever.

Michael is a lifelong small businessman, family man, and is quietly very active in the community in and around Kansas City, Missouri. He is a fiscal conservative and adheres to the Constitution, believes in limited and responsible government, fiscal responsibility, tax reform, and other key conservative issues.

The primary is on August 5, and we are beginning a closing push. I think he’s got a very solid chance of winning the primary, but Michael needs to raise some money, and I’m wondering if you’d be willing to give him a mention. He has a great website where instapundit readers can donate, and the website includes some videos about Michael. Who says you have to be slick at reading the TelePrompter? Look what that’s gotten us. We’d love to raise $25,000.00, and I’m sure we could do with the help of instapundit readers.

Well, there you are. Here’s Michael Burris’s website. I don’t know Burris, but I do know David Vickers, who also tells me that Burris is a supporter of my revolving door surtax.

AND THE DOOR REVOLVES ONCE MORE: Ex-White House Flack Jay Carney To MSNBC? Yet another argument for my revolving-door surtax.

WHO COULD HAVE SEEN THIS COMING? Obama Assistant Press Secretary Goes To Work For Tom Steyer.

Just another argument for my revolving-door surtax.

EX-NSA HEAD TO MAKE BIG BUCKS IN CONSULTING, BUT SOME ARE UNHAPPY: Lawmaker Slams Ex-NSA Chief: ‘Nothing to Offer’ but State Secrets.

Keith Alexander, since stepping down from his position as National Security Administration (NSA) and U.S. Cyber Command chief following last year’s mass surveillance revelations, has gotten himself in the business of cybersecurity consulting.

And not everyone’s comfortable with that. Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fl.) yesterday published letters he sent to the “Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, the Consumer Bankers Association, the Financial Services Roundtable and the Clearing House—all of which Alexander reportedly has approached about his services,” according to Wired. The congressman, who sits on both the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, gave a roundabout warning to former spy chief.

It’s always disturbing when Alan Grayson says something sensible, but you know, broken clocks and all that. But if he’s serious here, he should introduce a bill to implement my revolving-door surtax.

HMM: Former head of NSA doing very well in the private sector.

Just another argument for my revolving-door surtax!

FATCAT CRONY INSIDERS — THEY’RE JUST LIKE US! Hillary Clinton Says She Isn’t ‘Truly Well Off.’ “Because we pay ordinary income tax, unlike a lot of people who are truly well off, not to name names; and we’ve done it through dint of hard work.”

At one percent of the Clintons’ net worth, most Americans would consider themselves well off. But here’s how they’re struggling:

Clinton earned an $8 million advance for her 2003 book “Living History” and her publisher is rumored to have paid “significantly more” for “Hard Choices.” Additionally, Clinton reportedly earns $200,000 in speaking fees each time she makes a speech. Bill Clinton has reportedly made over $100 million in speaking fees since leaving office.

Earlier this month, Clinton caused controversy when she said she and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, were “dead broke” when he left the White House in 2000 and subsequently “struggled” to buy homes and pay for their daughter, Chelsea’s, education. Chelsea Clinton’s wealth also made headlines earlier this month after Politico reported she earned a $600,000 salary as a “special correspondent” for NBC News, a sum Business Insider noted seems to amount to $26,724 for each minute she was on air.

Working class all the way. She and Bill are walking, talking (for a fee) arguments for my revolving-door surtax.

Related: WaPo: Some Democrats fear Clinton’s wealth and ‘imperial image’ could be damaging in 2016. “She’s been living 30, going on 40 years with somebody bringing your coffee to you every morning. Is it more ‘Downton Abbey’ than it is America?”

ANNALS OF THE .1 PERCENT: Sen. Elizabeth Warren got $525,000 advance for new book. So here’s a new proposal, to accompany my revolving-door surtax: Book advances received by serving government officials or those less than one year out of office are taxed at 75%.

BUCKRAKING: Hillary Clinton Has Made $5 Million in Speaking Fees Since Leaving Office.

Just another argument for my revolving-door surtax!

KA-CHING: After Fed, Bernanke Offers His Wisdom, for a Big Fee. “During his eight years as steward of the world’s largest economy, Mr. Bernanke’s salary was about $200,000 a year. Now he makes that in just a few hours speaking to bankers, hedge fund billionaires and leaders of industry. This year alone, he is poised to make millions of dollars from speaking engagements.”

Another argument for my revolving-door surtax.

WASHINGTON: Insurance lobby AHIP hires up John Boehner aide Brendan Buck.

Another argument for my revolving-door surtax!

FLASH: ACTUAL JOURNALISM COMMITTED BY MSM: “Damn Right I Taped Kerry’s ‘Apartheid’ Talk,” says the Daily Beast’s Josh Rogin. “And if I had to do it all over again, I’d do it in the exact same way.”

“The media is turning on President Obama,” Michael Goodwin wrote in the New York Post a week ago. But don’t worry — everybody in the media-political complex will be chummy tonight at Nerdprom.


CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: How the revolving door lets Hollywood shape Obama’s trade agenda. “The revolving door between industry groups and the Obama administration’s trade shop has been busy lately. Earlier this month, we learned that assistant US Trade Representative Stan McCoy has accepted a new job with the Motion Picture Association of Europe, Middle East, and Africa, a Hollywood lobbying group. The announcement came a few weeks after the Obama administration announced it was naming a former software industry lobbyist to be deputy U.S. trade representative.” Yet another argument for imposing my Revolving-Door Surtax.

ANNALS OF THE .0001 PERCENT: Do we deserve to know how much Citigroup is paying Obama alumnus Peter Orszag? “When President Obama’s budget chief Peter Orszag left for Citigroup, it was one of the highest profile revolving-door cash-outs of the Obama administration. Now Orszag is fighting in court for special protection against standard public records laws, which would ordinarily make public how much Citigroup is paying him.”

Whatever it is, I’ll bet it’s enough to support my revolving-door surtax.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Obama appointee subsidizes electric bus company, then goes to work for it.

Another argument for my revolving-door surtax.


The long-awaited simplification of the tax code being drafted by House Republicans would slash the top income tax rate to 25 percent from 39.6 percent and impose a surtax on some of the nation’s wealthiest households.

Under the proposal, set for release Wednesday, the vast majority of taxpayers would see little change in the ultimate size of their tax bills, according to a nonpartisan congressional analysis of the legislation.

But the tax system would be dramatically simpler, with seven existing brackets collapsed into just two, set at 10 percent and 25 percent.

In addition, the plan would impose a 10 percent surtax on certain types of earned income over roughly $450,000 a year. The surtax would hit many salaried professionals, such as attorneys and accountants, while dodging farmers and manufacturers — as well as the super-rich, whose income often is derived primarily from interest and investments.

I’d like to see my revolving-door surtax included, as long as we’re talking surtaxes. I’ve got a few other revenue enhancements to suggest, too, if Dems think this doesn’t do enough. . . .

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Sen. Mike Lee Pitches Higher Ed Reform Plan.

Plus: “Lee will introduce welfare reform this week and Head Start reform after recess, and . . . his office also has an anti-cronyism agenda in the works for this spring.” I hope he includes my anti-revolving-door surtax. Hey, it’s got bipartisan support already.

SHOCKER: Law Doesn’t End Revolving Door On Capitol Hill.

Time to pass my revolving-door surtax, and apply it to Congress, too.

YA THINK? Yes Rep. Pelosi, Congress has a revolving door.

“The revolving door is not so much Congress as the executive branch.”

That statement comes from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., during her Thursday night appearance on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. The declaration may seem counterintuitive, given that Pelosi’s office is one of the largest incubators of revolving door talent on Capitol Hill. According to data from Open Secrets at least 28 current and former Pelosi staffers have represented (or currently represent) special interests.

During her appearance, Stewart pressed the congresswoman on the obstacles facing small IT contractors who wanted to compete for bids working on the Affordable Care Act’s website. Stewart questioned whether an overly burdensome procurement process was allowed to continue because it favored big government contractors with the resources to successfully navigate the regulations.

When Stewart broached the issue that corporations may have too much influence on members of Congress, Pelosi was apparently unaware that one of her former staffers now works for Boeing. “I don’t know that, well… who?”

“Is it possible that the people within the system don’t have enough distance from it to see that people in congressional offices end up going and becoming lobbyists in corporations, these corporations lobby to get all kinds of arcane things put in to the regulation… can our Congress, maybe, not see the corruption inherent in that?”

Just another argument for my revolving-door surtax proposal. And, clearly, Rep. Pelosi won’t mind it applying to Congress, since there’s so little of that sort of thing going on there, anyway. . . .


When Stewart raised the possibility that the revolving door between government and the world of corporate lobbying might partly be to blame for government’s inability to implement its programs competently, Pelosi said Congress really didn’t have that problem.

“The revolving door is not so much Congress as the executive branch,” she said to a disbelieving host.

Well, then, she should be happy to get behind my revolving-door surtax.

SPINNING THE DOJ REVOLVING DOOR. “A cynic might say that what is corrupt here isn’t the practices of American companies overseas but a regulatory regime so arbitrary and complex that it winds up enriching the regulators (once they pass through the revolving door), because they are the only ones who understand how it works well enough to advise on it. Another case for the Glenn Reynolds anti-revolving door tax of ‘A 50% surtax on anything earned within five years after leaving the federal government, above whatever the federal salary was.'”

HOPEY-CHANGEY: How Revolving Door Lobbyists Are Taking Over K Street. “Between 1998 and 2012, total lobbying revenue associated with active contract lobbyists almost doubled in real dollars, from $703 million to $1.32 billion. This is consistent with the general increase in lobbying over this time. But all of that new revenue came in the form of revenues associated with revolving door lobbyists.”

Just another argument in favor of my Revolving-Door Surtax.

I’M SO OLD, I REMEMBER WHEN OBAMA WAS AGAINST HIRING LOBBYISTS. Obama spins revolving door again: Former lobbyist named to Energy Dept. post.

SO THANKS TO THE WONDER OF BING, I RAN ACROSS THIS FROM 2009: If Timothy F. Geithner Can Fix Our Economy, Does It Matter Whether He Paid His Taxes?

As it turns out, he didn’t do either. But now he’s cashed in with Wall Street. More argument in favor of my revolving-door surtax.

THE NEW YORKER: Tim Geithner And The Revolving Door. Despite this piece’s weird combination of unconvincing excuses and humblebragging, this sounds like another good argument for my Revolving Door Surtax. Of course, Geithner would probably just not pay it. . . .

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: The Hill: ObamaCare’s architects reap windfall as Washington lobbyists. “ObamaCare has become big business for an elite network of Washington lobbyists and consultants who helped shape the law from the inside. More than 30 former administration officials, lawmakers and congressional staffers who worked on the healthcare law have set up shop on K Street since 2010.”

Yet another argument for my revolving-door surtax.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: House panels demand info on CFPB’s revolving door.

Two House committees are investigating former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau officials who now appear to be cashing in on their insider knowledge and contacts concerning mortgage underwriting rules they helped to write.

In a July 31 letter, leaders of the House Committee on Financial Services and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform demanded documents from CFPB concerning Rajeev Date.

As previously reported by the Washington Examiner, Date was formerly CFPB’s deputy director and had served at one time as its acting director. He resigned in January, then opened a consulting firm two months later called Fenway Summer that specializes in advising companies on CFPB-related matters.

Signers of the letter said they were concerned about “the appearance of impropriety in Mr. Date’s planned activities for Fenway” and denounced the “lack of transparency” in the agency’s rules concerning former employees.

Just another argument for my revolving-door surtax.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Obama Revolving Door: Ken Salazar to lobbying/law firm Wilmer Hale, Lieberman to Kasowitz.

ANOTHER CASE FOR MY REVOLVING-DOOR SURTAX RIGHT HERE: Former EPA head Lisa P. Jackson becomes Apple’s top environmental adviser.

Related: How Obama Aides Are Cashing In.

NOAM SCHEIBER ON HOW OBAMA AIDES ARE CASHING IN. “It turns out the highest-profile White House grads don’t so much join consulting firms these days; they found them. A boldfaced Obama name can rake in upward of $25,000 per month from a client just by dialing into a conference call and drafting a memo from time to time. Four clients means more than a million dollars a year with virtually no overhead.”

Sounds like another argument for my revolving-door surtax.

SCOTT RASMUSSEN: Beware Of The New Elites.

Today, just 35 percent of voters believe the economy is fair to middle-class Americans. Only 41 percent believe it is fair to those who are willing to work hard.

Some politicians, particularly Democrats, are better at acknowledging the importance of fairness, but they have a pretty limited definition of what it means. They complain about income inequality but ignore the larger context.

For most Americans, the context is very important. If a CEO gets a huge paycheck after his company received a government bailout, that’s a problem. People who get rich through corporate welfare schemes are seen as suspect. On the other hand, 86 percent believe it’s fair for people who create very successful companies to get very rich.

In other words, it’s not just the income; it’s whether the reward matched the effort. People don’t think it’s a problem that Steve Jobs got rich. After all, he created Apple Computer and the iPad generation. But there was massive outrage about the bonuses paid to AIG executives after that company was propped up by the federal government.

On a more routine basis, most Americans are offended by the revolving door between Washington and Wall Street. The practice of working for the government to network and then cash in with a firm that needs your government contacts is seen as fair only by those who practice it.

The revolving door hints at the larger problem. The United States is supposed to be a land of opportunity, where everyone can pursue their dreams. Throughout our history, many have started with nothing and risen to the top. But those on top today are busy rewriting the rules to limit entry into their club.

Yes, yes, yes. And my revolving-door surtax is just a small part of the equation. (Emphasis added.)

THE HILL: Obama Pleads With House Dems To Make Concessions For Deficit Deal. “President Obama asked House Democrats on Thursday to give him the political room to make concessions to Republicans on entitlements as part of a deficit-reduction deal. In a meeting with the House Democratic Caucus in the Capitol Visitor Center, Obama said he won’t accept anything less than a balanced approach to deficit reduction that includes new tax revenues, according to numerous lawmakers in the room. But he also reminded his troops that, with Republicans in control of the lower chamber, no deal is possible unless Democrats are willing to sacrifice some of their sacred cows.”

And if you’re looking for new tax revenues, I’ve got a suggestion or two.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN ON SURGING BIPARTISAN MOMENTUM and further refinements of my revolving-door surtax proposal.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN ON SURGING BIPARTISAN MOMENTUM and further refinements of my revolving-door surtax proposal.

NOW WITH SURGING BIPARTISAN MOMENTUM! Bill Moyers endorses my revolving-door-tax idea.

IN AN EDITORIAL, the Boston Herald endorses my revolving-door surtax on post-government employment.

As a senator from Connecticut, Democrat Christopher Dodd earned $174,000 in his last year in office. In 2011 he became head of the Motion Picture Association of America at $1.2 million a year. U.S. Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.) earned $158,000 in his last year in the House, 2004, and $2.06 million the next year as head of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

Congress is not unique. The regulatory and executive agencies display this behavior too. What the employer is trying to buy is knowledge, connections and influence. You could think of these as intangible capital, and the Reynolds tax as a form of capital gains tax.

It’s nice to have my ideas noticed.

EARLIER THIS WEEK, I wrote about the revolving door between government and business, and the conflicts of interest it creates. But I should note the growing problem of the reportorial revolving door, as John Kerry hires the guy who’s been responsible for his coverage at the Boston Globe to be his State Department spokesperson.

TAX THE REVOLVING DOOR: My USA Today column expands on my proposed post-employment surtax for federal officials.

TAX THE REVOLVING DOOR: My USA Today column expands on my proposed post-employment surtax for federal officials.

PROGRESS: ‘No Budget, No Pay’ Advances Despite Reservations.

In an earlier era, a move like the one engineered by House GOP leaders to pass a “no budget, no pay” measure probably would have been stopped in its tracks.

But with Congress’ approval ratings in the gutter, House lawmakers pushed aside questions about fairness and constitutionality and tacked the idea on to an unpopular, must-pass measure to increase the government’s borrowing cap.

This AP story is an apologia for the bill’s opponents, but it still can’t obscure the fact that with Congress deeply unpopular for failing to do its job, reform proposals that would normally not have a chance might make it now. Which is a good reason for someone to introduce my revolving-door surtax for government officials who leave for higher-paying jobs elsewhere.