What are America’s former senators doing now? Lobbying, lawyering, holding new office … but mostly lobbying.
The job of united states senator, though not without its perks and prestige, is a rawer deal than it may seem. Its main responsibilities involve petty humiliations and untelevised subcommittee hearings, and unless you possess the magnetism of a John F. Kennedy or a Barack Obama, you don’t even get to be president.
No wonder, then, that so many senators cash in when they depart Congress. While some dive into the smaller pond of state politics and others climb the ivory tower, the vast majority of Senate retirees pursue opportunities as lobbyists in the ever-thriving private sector. We examined the second acts of all the living senators who have left the body since 2004 and discovered that the next-best thing to a key to the executive mansion is the one to the executive washroom at Patton Boggs.
ACTUALLY RETIRED *
Known as the Senate’s resident crank, Bunning was all but forced into retirement in 2010 by his Kentucky colleague Mitch McConnell. Since then, he seems to have done the impossible by actually keeping his name out of the papers—until January, when he emerged from retirement to manage a local campaign for sheriff.
DEFEATED IN PRIMARY, 2012.
*Does not account for potential part-time work on corporate boards, think tanks, or universities.
HIGH PAYING ODD JOBS
RETIRED, 2010. Practicing law at Burris & Associates
RETIRED, 2013. Practicing law at Wolff & Samson
RETIRED, 2012. Board of Directors at Genworth Finance, Steering Committee at Campaign to Fix the Debt
RESIGNED, 2005. Governor of New Jersey, 2006–2010; CEO, MF Global, 2010–2011
RETIRED, 2012. Heritage Foundation
The South Carolina Republican was a Tea Party godfather until resigning at the end of President Obama’s first term. Formerly one of the poorest senators, he saw his earnings skyrocket when he became head of the Heritage Foundation, which he has transformed from a think tank into an interest group.
RETIRED, 2004. Practicing law at Edwards Kirby
RESIGNED, 2011. Veterinarian
DEFEATED, 2010. State Department Envoy
RETIRED, 2004. Founder and Chairman, Chain Bridge Bank
RETIRED, 2006. Partner at Cressey & Co.
RETIRED, 2010. Practicing law at Goodwin & Goodwin
RETIRED, 2010. Practicing law at Gunster
RESIGNED, 2009. U.S. Secretary of the Interior, 2009– 2013; practicing law at WilmerHale
RETIRED, 2012. Founder, Olympia’s List
Since retiring in 2012, Snowe has started a political action committee to support Congress’s remaining centrists—and joined the board of investment firm T. Rowe Price, where her yearly compensation will likely top $300,000.
RETIRED, 2012. Writer
LOBBYISTS & CONSULTANTS
retired, 2008. Livingston Group
defeated, 2006. George Allen Strategies
Once considered a contender for the White House, Allen lost his Senate seat in 2006 after calling an Indian man a racial slur. Now, his consulting firm is advising Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder against changing the team name.
KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON
RETIRED, 2012. Bracewell & Giuliani
RETIRED, 2010. McGuireWoods
DEFEATED IN PRIMARY, 2010. Arent Fox
RETIRED, 2010. Kit Bond Strategies
RETIRED, 2004. Patton Boggs
DEFEATED, 2012. Nixon-Peabody
The short-lived “people’s senator” has kept several irons in the fire since his 2012 defeat. He has signed on at lobbying firm Nixon Peabody, draws paychecks as a contributor at Fox News, and is even mulling a campaign in neighboring New Hampshire.
DEFEATED, 2006. Gage International
DEFEATED, 2008. Hogan Lovells
RETIRED, 2013. ML Strategies
RETIRED, 2008. New West Strategies
DEFEATED, 2004. DLA Piper
RETIRED, 2010. Motion Picture Association of America
Dodd vowed never to lobby his former colleagues after his retirement in 2010. Not long thereafter, he became president of the Motion Picture Association of America, where he lobbies on behalf of Hollywood for an annual payday of more than $3 million.
RETIRED, 2010. Arent Fox
RETIRED, 2010. Security Industry and Financial Markets Association
RETIRED, 2012. Arent Fox
RETIRED, 2012. Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman
DEFEATED, 2010. Lincoln Policy Group
A casualty of 2010’s Republican wave, Lincoln was considered a good candidate for the Obama Cabinet. Instead, the former Agriculture Committee chairwoman now runs interference for agriculture giant Monsanto and other former campaign contributors.
RESIGNED, 2007. Patton Boggs
RESIGNED, 2009. DLA Piper
RETIRED, 2012. National Association of Insurance Commissioners
Friendly to insurance interests while in office, Nelson received a nearly 450 percent pay bump to become the CEO of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in January of last year.