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No need to pass the hat for retiring members of Congress, they’re unlikely to join the ranks of the unemployed:

“Lawmakers retiring this year have little reason to fret the job market: Some of K Street’s biggest players have top openings with seven-figure salaries…At least four major trade associations are looking to hire for their high-profile jobs, each of which could command a salary in excess of $1 million a year.

The growing list of members who have decided not to seek reelection, combined with top-notch job opportunities, will only further the trend of ex-lawmakers lobbying for interests they once oversaw.”

Ah yes, the old D.C. revolving door:

“Public Citizen, a watchdog group, reported that 43 percent of members who left Congress between 1998 and 2004 became registered lobbyists, a figure that does not include political consultants who don’t register” [like former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.]

A few other examples:

“Retiring Democrats like Sens. Christopher Dodd (Conn.) and Byron Dorgan (N.D.), and Reps. John Tanner and Bart Gordon, both of Tennessee, are names mentioned as possible hot prospects downtown.”

“Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) announced his retirement from Congress last fall and instead of finishing his term, he immediately took a job with law and lobbying firm DLA Piper (though he did not register as a lobbyist).

Then there’s the soon-to-be retired senator from Indiana, Evan Bayh, who, “a day after he announced his retirement..declined to rule out a career as a lobbyist.” A good fit for Senator Bayh might be the job recently vacated by another former member of Congress who moved on to the greener pastures of lobbying, the head of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association (PhRMA) which was held by Billy Tauzin, and pays fairly well:

“Tauzin, a collegial dealmaker who entered Congress as a Democrat and left as a Republican, is resigning from a job that paid him a total compensation package in excess of $2 million a year, according to the association’s 2007 tax records.”

Since Senator Bayh’s wife sits on the board at insurance giant WellPoint, I suspect there might be a place for him there as a lobbyist if he so chooses. There is one small matter Bayh needs to clear up, what to do with the $13 million campaign war chest he has on hand. There are a few options:

a) keep the cash in his own account for a possible future run for office
b) transfer it to a newly-created PAC
c) return it to the donors
d) give it to charity
e) give it to the Indiana Democratic Party
f) give it to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), or the Democratic National Committee (DNC)

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess (a). Just a hunch.

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