There’s a veritable car pool lane connecting Capitol Hill to K Street, according to a new study, which found that almost 5,400 ex-congressional staffers and nearly 400 former lawmakers have taken jobs with lobbying firms over the past decade. The road goes in the opposite direction as well, with 605 ex-lobbyists taking gigs with lawmakers over that time. The tallies, which come from online disclosure site LegiStorm, are significantly higher than previous estimates, the Washington Post reports.
“People who are experienced in Washington tend to be better at doing this kind of work than people who have never worked in the government,” reasons Tony Podesta, whose Podesta Group boasts more ex-Hill denizens than any other outfit. But LegiStorm thinks the influence of these staffers-turned-lobbyists is troublesome. “For every person the American people have elected,” LegiStorm’s founder says, “special interests have more than one former legislative advocate now working on the inside in Congress.”