Obamacare A Boon To Insiders-Turned-Lobbyists

Obamacare is bagging Washington lobbyists big bucks as corporate clients line up to hire K Street lobbying firms made up of former government officials with high-powered connections.

"After passage of major legislation, those who have networks on Capitol Hill take exceedingly lucrative jobs with the same industries subject to the legislation,” Public Citizen lobbyist Craig Holman told The Hill. “It raises questions about the [bill's] integrity.”

Former lawmakers and White House officials have signed on with lucrative lobbying firms who benefit from Obamacare's complexity and long implementation timeline.

Over 30 former staffers, members of Congress, and White House officials with Obamacare experience are now working on K Street, reports The Hill.

A few of those cashing in on "Boomtown's" revolving door are:

  • Former Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND), who served on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee where he oversaw healthcare and tax policies, signed up with Alston & Bird in 2011
  • Yvette Fontenot, former legislative adviser to Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), who joined Avenue Solutions, a four-woman Democratic lobbying firm that bags nearly $3 million a year
  • Dora Hughes, former senior counsel to Obama Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who signed up last year with Sidley Austin law firm to provide "strategic policy advice"
  • Chris Jennings, formerly of the Clinton Administration, was picked up by the Obama White House last month to help with Obamacare implementation 

McCormick Group headhunter Ivan Adler says Obamacare's high stakes and complicated provisions have been a boon to Washington insiders.

"Healthcare lobbying on K Street is as strong as it ever was, and it's due to the fact that the Affordable Care Act seems to be ever-changing," said Adler.

He added: “When [Vice President] Biden leaned over [during healthcare signing] and said to [President] Obama, ‘This is a big f__ing deal,’ he was right.”


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