Monday, June 19, 2006

From Washington to Which Street: Wall Street or K Street?

(AP) Yet another Bush administration official finds their way from government service to the world of corporate finance. The #2 man at the State Department, Scott Zoellick announced his plans to step down for a position with Goldman Sachs Group, a Wall Street investment house. Scott said he wants to grow investments around the world.

Other notables who shifted gears include past Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson and his Medicare chief Tom Scully. Mr. Thompson joined the Board of Directors of VeriChip after saying he planned to work in the private sector. Mr. Scully may have inspired his ex boss with his shifty move a year earlier as Tommy ended up at the DC lobbying firm of Akin, Gump as a general partnerand is doing consulting work for Deloitte & Touche. Later Logistics Health Incorporated appointed Mr. Thompson as President of the provider of medical readiness and homeland security solutions. LHI is owned by a Boston based investment house, TA Associates. Should the company be sold or taken public, how much would Tommy make?

After months of being courted, Tom Scully landed a lobbying job with Alston & Bird, a D.C. firm noted for its insider connections from ex-Senator Bob Dole to the more recently employed ex-Senator Tom Daschle. Tom also became a Senior Advisor for Welsh, Carson, Anderson, & Stowe, an investment house with a strong healthcare niche. He later parlayed that role into a General Partnership position with WCAS and sits on 4 of their corporations’ board of directors.

Where will Scott McClellan or John Snow end up? What will Tom DeLay and Bill Thomas do post retirement? Will they end up like the over 90 Homeland Security officials who jumped from government service to the private sector, selling goods and services to their old bosses and co-workers? Will they start their own lobbying firms like Joe Allbaugh who traces his history with President Bush back to Texas alongside Karl Rove?

For those who believe the corporate connections to only be a Republican problem consider an analysis of 100 former Clinton advisors. It shows a similar pattern. How will the Bush record compare? We have two more years of moves before that analysis can be completed. However, the early results are more than discouraging. For those interested in the current rules, check out the article on “revolving door” restrictions. The Bush Administration has 229 government servants turned lobbyists according to Public Citizen.

Tom Ridge landed on the Board of Directors of Savi Technology, which was just acquired by Lockheed Martin. If Tom held Savi stock he likely made out like a bandit. Christine Todd Whitman started her own lobbying firm and in the past used her influence on behalf of Citgo Petroleum. John Ashcroft founded his own firm, the Ashcroft Group while joining other ex-Congressmen in doing work for Bryan Cave. It is good to know that an ex-House Ethics Committee Counsel can jump back and forth from the private sector to government service and finally land a partnership in a cushy lobbying firm like Patton & Boggs. It makes one wonder are there any rules?

P.S. The AP at the beginning of the post represents the author's initials

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