Bush appointees linked with company lobbying, report says

Fifteen officials in President George W. Bush’s Cabinet have accepted lucrative positions in companies that lobby the same agencies the officials formerly headed, according to a report from a government watchdog group.

The “Revolving Door,” by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, examines the practice of federal officials leaving office to work for companies that lobby the federal government, including, in many cases, the former officials’ agencies. Under federal law, that practice is legal if the officials observe a waiting period after leaving office.

“It may be legal, but it is certainly not honorable,” Melanie Sloan, executive director of the watchdog group, said.

The group did a six-month investigation of the careers of 24 Cabinet-level Bush appointees who have left office. Of those, 15 now hold jobs in companies that lobby the former officials’ federal agencies.

Officials who are now employed by companies lobbying their former agencies include:

  • Former Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham.
  • Former Attorney General John Ashcroft.
  • Former Commerce Secretary Don Evans.
  • Former Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta.
  • Former Interior Secretary Gale Norton.
  • Former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill.
  • Former Education Secretary Rod Paige.
  • Former U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman.
  • Former Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony Principi.
  • Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge.
  • Former Treasury Secretary John Snow.
  • Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson.
  • Former EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman.
  • Former U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.


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