About a dozen former House members who maintain D.C. offices in law firms became eligible last week to return to Capitol Hill as lobbyists.
Former House members are barred from lobbying Congress until the one-year anniversary of their departures from the legislative branch. The passing of the anniversary on Jan. 3 made almost 100 former House members, who left office following the 2010 elections, eligible to lobby their former colleagues.
The group includes J. Gresham Barrett (R-S.C.) of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough; Rick Boucher (D-Va.) of Sidley Austin; Michael Castle (R-Del.) of DLA Piper; Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) of K&L Gates; Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-S.D.) of Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Matz; Ron Klein (D-Fla.) of Holland & Knight; Dan Maffei (D-N.Y.) of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips; Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.) of Alston & Bird; John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) of Steptoe & Johnson; Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) of Husch Blackwell; and Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) of Venable. All of these former members note on their online law firm biographies that they spend at least some time at the Washington offices of their firms.
Robert Jones, head of Alston & Bird’s legislative and public policy group, said last week was “a great week” for his firm.
“Now that those restrictions have been lifted, it adds more depth to our team,” Jones said.
But Alston still must wait another year before it can take full advantage of the other member of Congress it hired last year, former Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.). Senators are prohibited from lobbying Congress until the second anniversary of their exits from the Senate.
Lincoln, a special policy adviser at Alston, is one of five former senators who left the Senate following the 2010 elections and now maintain Washington offices in law firms. They include former Sens. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) of McGuireWoods, Christopher "Kit" Bond (R-Mo.) of Thompson Coburn, and Arent Fox’s Robert Bennett (R-Utah) and Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.).
Despite the end of the lobbying ban for House members, not all of them are dashing off to Capitol Hill to lobby for their clients.
Castle, a partner in DLA Piper’s government affairs practice, said he has “no particular lobbying plans” right now. He has offices in Wilmington, Del., and New York, in addition to Washington.
“We’ll see what comes along,” said Castle, who specializes in financial services, health care and energy matters.