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Beltway universities feed lobbyists’ revolving door

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Which universities produce the most “revolving door lobbyists” in 2011? Four of the top five are inside the Washington Beltway, including Georgetown University, George Washington University, American University and Catholic University of America, the Center for Responsive Politics found.
Surprised? It seems location matters more than college ranking. The top school Georgetown produced 187 lobbyists in 2011, and George Washington produced 151 lobbyists.

The Center for Responsive Politics defines a revolving door lobbyist as “someone who has worked for both the federal government — any of the legislative, judicial or executive branches — and political lobbying or consulting firms.”

Georgetown has turned out some notable lobbyists including Tony Podesta of the Podesta Group, who has played key roles in several Democratic presidential and senatorial campaigns and graduated from Georgetown Law. Also from Georgetown is Kenneth Kies, who worked on a pair of influential committees in Congress and is now managing director of the Federal Policy Group, a lobbying firm.

Ivy League schools are also on the list. Harvard led all Ivy League schools with 96 lobbyists. Six of the eight Ivy League schools made the list, graduating a total of 257 revolving door lobbyists, including Yale University (41), Columbia University (35), Cornell University (33), University of Pennsylvania (31) and Brown University (21).

Geographically, the East Coast dominates the rankings, with 19 of the 26 universities located in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. The University of Texas at Austin with 45 revolving lobbyists is the only college west of the Mississippi River on the top 26 list.

Which government agencies churn out the most revolving door lobbyists? The White House, Department of Defense and Department of Commerce, with 1054, 528 and 420 revolving lobbyists respectively. The U.S. House of Representatives ranks fourth with 357.

Nine of the top ten government agencies that have, according to OpenSecrets, “employed the greatest number of former lobbyists — or sent the greatest number of former employees to lobbying firms and interest groups” are in the executive branch, while Congress is only represented by the House of Representatives in the top ten.

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