Rep. Filemon Vela To Leave Congress Early For Law Firm Job

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Democratic Texas Rep. Filemon Vela will leave Congress in the coming weeks to take a position at the Washington, D.C., law firm Akin Gump.

Vela, the vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, announced in March 2021 that he would not seek re-election. He had been expected to finish out his term, but will instead take up a position at the corporate law firm immediately. Vela filed a letter in January with the House Ethics Committee recusing himself from any matters involving the firm due to his “negotiation regarding future employment or compensation.”

Vela has served in Congress since 2013. His decision to leave was first reported by Punchbowl News, and confirmed by The Texas Tribune.

A spokeswoman for Vela did not respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment on the matter.

Fellow Democrat Vicente Gonzalez, who currently represents Texas’ 15th District, has filed to slide over into Vela’s 34th District. Following redistricting, the 34th District is expected to remain in Democratic hands.

Vela will be the third member of Congress to leave before the end of his term to seek a business role. Republican Ohio Rep. Steve Stivers stepped down in May 2021 to lead the Ohio Chamber of Congress, and Republican California Rep. Devin Nunes left Congress in January to serve as CEO of TRUTH Social, a social media platform founded by former President Donald Trump. (RELATED: California Rep. Devin Nunes Announces Retirement, Plans To Join Trump’s New Media Outlet)

A relative moderate, Vela was one of sixteen Democrats to force Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi into a term-limits pledge in 2018. He was also one of nine Democrats to publicly criticize the Democratic Party leadership’s strategy of preventing a vote on the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act out of a desire to pass the still-unwritten Build Back Better social spending package.

Akin Gump, a law firm with a highly-influential lobbying shop, employs many former lawmakers of both parties. Current and former employees include former Republican Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, former Democratic Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly, and former Republican Texas Rep. Lamar Smith.