Same Apple, New Barrel

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Former Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT) who lost his bid for re-election in 2006 thanks to suspicions around his taking campaign contributions from convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff has registered as a lobbyist himself, having just cleared the one year moratorium (new rules will make it a two-year ban) on lawmakers becoming lobbyists. He's now working, along with a former staff member, for a firm, Gage LLC, founded by another ex-staffer. DC's a small town.

How nice that a Senator can leave office under a cloud of suspicion for ethical misdeeds and, just a year later, be rewarded with a well-compensated position at a high-powered lobbying firm. I'm sure that one year that Burns has spent away from the halls of Congress has erased all institutional memory of his ever being there -- no way will his insider status as a former Senator give him undue advantage, nor I'm sure will the $350,000+ * that Gage employees have given to federal candidates since the company's founding.

*Campaign finance data courtesy of the Center for Responsive Politics.