November 12, 2015

Russ Feingold Opposes The Revolving Door, Except When It Involves His Ex-Staff

Former Senator Russ Feingold has had a tough time staying consistent with his long-held positions as he desperately tries to get back to Washington after the people of Wisconsin fired him five years ago.

The 28-year politician has been engulfed in a campaign finance scandal surrounding his PAC and gone back on prior promises he made about refusing help from outside groups and collecting contributions from out-of-staters.

Now, a Washington Free Beacon report shows that despite former Senator Feingold’s rhetoric denouncing the revolving door and railing against lobbyists, 16 of his staffers became lobbyists after working in Feingold’s office:

A number of staffers who worked in the Washington, D.C., office of Russ Feingold went on the become lobbyists despite the senator’s disdain for the sector when he served in Congress. Feingold, the former Democratic senator from Wisconsin who is currently running to regain the seat he lost in 2010 to Sen. Ron Johnson, spent much of his 18-year career in the upper house lambasting lobbyists and special interest money in politics. However, 16 of his staffers made the leap into the lobbying sector at one point after working for him.

The Free Beacon points out that during Feingold’s lengthy career in the U.S. Senate, he spent plenty of time attacking lobbyists and criticizing staffers and politicians who left The Hill in order to work on K Street:

Feingold penned an op-ed for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in 1996 titled, “Restricting ‘revolving door’ a step toward good government.” The senator argued that limiting lobbying by ex-public servants, including staffers, would improve the public’s trust of politicians. “Public service is supposed to be just that—service to the public,” Feingold wrote. “Unfortunately, some public servants—elected officials and staff members alike—use the revolving door to secure positions in Washington lobbying offices and then return to the Capitol to use the expertise they acquired in public life and exert influence on their former colleagues on behalf of their well-financed private clients.” 

This story comes on the heels of a report that showed the former three-term Senator taking bundled lobbyist money in 2010 and during this election, despite the fact he has railed against accepting lobbyist cash in the past.

That kind of dishonesty and hypocrisy won’t serve the people of Wisconsin well in the U.S. Senate.