A state lawmaker wants to keep his former colleagues from heading to work as lobbyists right after they leave the legislature.
Democratic State Representative Dana Wachs (D-Eau Claire) is a co-sponsor of the bill, which would prevent legislators from becoming a lobbyist for one year after their term ends. “We need to try to curb the impact of former legislators coming in and serving as lobbyists…they know everybody in the building, they have personal relationships with everybody,” he says.
Wachs says the practice, which happens frequently with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, can raise a number of questions about the decisions lawmakers may have made before they left office. “It may not be unethical, but there’s an appearance of it if people leave the building and, two days later, they come back as a lobbyist.”
A one-year ban on lobbying is already in place for other state employees. Lawmakers have tried to apply the rule to the legislature before, with little success. Wachs thinks it has a chance this session though, since the proposal already has bipartisan support.