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Former House lawmakers join Washington lobbying firm

February 19, 2019

WASHINGTON (AP) — The former New York congressman unseated by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is going to work for a powerhouse lobbying firm.

Squire Patton Boggs announced Tuesday that Joseph Crowley has joined its global public policy practice. Crowley chaired the House Democratic Caucus and was once considered a possible successor to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi before losing to Ocasio-Cortez in New York’s Democratic congressional primary.

The firm said it also has hired former Republican Rep. Bill Shuster to expand an already “deep roster” of experienced professionals that includes former House Speaker John Boehner and former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, according to the statement. Shuster, a Pennsylvanian who served nine terms and chaired the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, did not run for re-election.

Crowley and Shuster are both bound by post-employment rules for ex-members that mandate a one-year cooling off period, during which they cannot lobby their former colleagues or represent a foreign entity. The restriction does not extend to executive branch and state government officials.

The 29-year-old Ocasio-Cortez came out of nowhere last spring to defeat the 10-term Crowley. She went on to become the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. She’s emerged as the national face of young, discontented Democrats — often women and minorities — trying to shove their party to the left.

The hiring of Crowley and Shuster comes amid increased scrutiny over lobbying and influence peddling in Washington. Although President Donald Trump pledged to “drain the swamp,” he and his appointees have stocked federal agencies with ex-lobbyists and corporate lawyers to help regulate the very industries from which they previously collected paychecks.

House Democrats are pushing for stricter lobbying and ethics rules as part of a sweeping legislative proposal that would overhaul campaign finance and voting rights laws. The package would expand the number of people subject to the federal Lobbying Disclosure Act, strengthen the Justice Department’s ability to enforce the Foreign Agents Registration Act, and overhaul the Office of Government Ethics so that it’s able to White House and other executive branch officials accountable.

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Follow Richard Lardner on Twitter at http://twitter.com/rplardner

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