Just days into the new Congress, K Street is seeing an influx of recently departed lawmakers and aides announcing new lobbying gigs. Recently departed members and staff bring with them fresh connections on Capitol Hill, but they also face restrictions on what they can do in the private sector.
Lawmakers and their aides are subject to a one-year ban on aiding or advising foreign governments or foreign political parties with the intent to influence the U.S. government, said Joshua Rosenstein, a partner with Sandler Reiff Lamb Rosenstein & Birkenstock, who specializes in lobbying and ethics laws.
Though recently departed lawmakers and their aides have long sought ways to get around the restrictions, Rosenstein said such matters are getting more attention with recent criminal convictions of people who engaged in unregistered lobbying, such as former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, as well as House Democrats’ pending political overhaul (HR 1) that includes campaign finance, lobbying and ethics matters.
“This may be a different environment than what we had even a year ago,” Rosenstein said. “Public scrutiny is on the rise in terms of advocacy on behalf of foreign clients. And in my view, K Street in general has been treading more carefully in recent months.
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