Bloomberg: Eric Cantor Was Highest-Paid Corporate Board Member in 2015

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Va., left, arrives for a House Republican strategy session on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 29, 2014. As a result of his defeat in the Virginia primary, Cantor will relinquish his leadership post at the end of the week.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Washington has long been known for its “revolving door,” where former lawmakers in Congress leave the halls of Capitol Hill for the lobbying firms of K Street.

But the latest revolving door trend in Congress is former members serving on corporate boards.

A new graphic from Bloomberg Politics shows just how much these former officials make in their lucrative positions on corporate boards.

Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, now at Moelis & Co., was the highest-earning board member in 2015, earning about $2 million, according to Bloomberg Politics.

The highest-earning board member overall was Former Democratic House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt, who earned about $10.8 million in director compensation since retiring in 2005 from 14 terms in the House serving Missouri.

Current federal ethics reforms bar House members from lobbying for one year after they leave and Senate members for two years after they leave, but there is no regulation that stops former lawmakers from serving on corporate boards as directors right away.

A sizable number of lawmakers have decided to go this route post-Congress—44 percent of senators and 11 percent of representatives who’ve left Congress have ended up in boardrooms, Bloomberg Politics reports.

On average, Republicans in this line of work made $382,535 in compensation, and Democrats made $330,194. The average salary for a member of Congress is $174,000.

More than 50 members who are retiring or are being voted out are expected to be looking for work come January 2017.

Nels Olson, co-lead of Korn/Ferry International’s director and chief executive officer search business in Washington, said he’s talked with many members either retiring or voted out of office about their next move.

“Sitting on a board is always top of their list,” he said.


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