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Lobbyists & Revolving Doors

Transparent Statement:
It definitely can border on un-ethical, but in general I am against non-compete agreements that prevent people from making a living.

We all know the stories of politicians or government workers who, after leaving government, take a job at a company and then immediately turn around and begin lobbying the same people they previously worked with. Yes, I agree it is wrong. No, I am not sure there is anything to reasonably do about it.

Many people who work for government receive a salary lower than they could earn in the private sector. To prevent them from getting a good job upon leaving seems wrong to me. One option is to require that there be a delay before they can lobby or win government contracts. But that can be difficult to enforce and probably just delays the inevitable.

For elected officials, while it does seem even more egregious, it does not really change the overall circumstances.

We also want to avoid having people regulate the industry they worked in. There is an inherent conflict of interest. On the other hand, to effectively regulate an industry, it helps to actually be familiar with that industry. So it's a no-win situation.

It is in the best interest of the people to make sure the best and brightest people are willing to work for the government. By preventing them making a living after government service, that reduces the incentives for those people who could otherwise make a lot more money in the private sector.

So while I am not happy about it, I think the people of Washington State are better served by not giving people a dis-incentive to work for governemnt, even if it means having to tolerate a few who unfairly and unethically take advantage of the situation. When this does occur, I think we should focus on publicly shaming their employer, not just the worker.

Steve Rubenstein for Governor | Privacy Policy