* Public Citizen on federal and state revolving door laws…
More importantly, a dozen states have taken measures to close the “strategic consulting” loophole that runs rampant at the federal level. Under federal revolving door restrictions, former officials are only required to avoid making “lobbying contacts” during the cooling-off period. Federal officials remain free to advise, design and run lobbying campaigns on behalf of paying clients or lobbying firms immediately after leaving public office as long as they do not personally contact government officials – a loophole that is heavily exploited by many officials and staff. Furthermore, these same former officials may often lobby officials at agencies of a branch of government in which they did not serve. Several states address these problems by banning “lobbying activity” as well as “lobbying contacts.”
Finally, most states that regulate the revolving door do so for both the legislative and executive branches of government as well as for senior staff in a decision-making capacity. Just as importantly, some states have closed the loophole at the federal level that allows former lawmakers to lobby the other branch of government immediately after leaving office. These states prohibit former officials from lobbying any agency of the executive branch or legislative body for a period of time after leaving office.
Overall, Iowa has the “best” revolving door policy, with a two-year cooling off period that applies to both legislative and executive officials and staff, and broadly prohibits both “lobbying activity” as well as “lobbying contacts” during the cooling off period. Maryland is a close runner-up, except that its revolving door restriction only applies to legislators and has a short one-year cooling off period. Nevertheless, in Maryland former legislators may not seek to influence the official actions of anyone in government for compensation for one year after leaving public office. […]
The “worst” states in terms of revolving door policies are easier to identify: Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Wyoming have no restrictions whatsoever on lobbying and influence peddling by former public officials and staff.
Extending all cooling-off periods to a minimum of two years – at least a full congressional cycle – and preferably even longer, so as to allow the inside connections to sitting government officials and staff to fade.
Banning compensation for “lobbying activity,” such as of conducting research, preparation, planning and supervision of a lobbying campaign, as well as banning “lobbying contacts” during the cooling-off period.
Applying the ban on lobbying by former elected officials and very senior staff across the board to all agencies and both the legislative and executive branches of government during the cooling-off period.