The revolving door in one graph
What you're seeing is the drop in revenue for a staffer-turned-lobbyist when their former boss leaves politics. It's from this paper (pdf) by Jordi Blanes i Vidal, Mirko Draca and Christian Fons-Rosen. Here's the abstract:
Washington's 'revolving door' - the movement from government service into the lobbying industry- is regarded as a major concern for policy-making. We study how ex-government staffers benefit from the personal connections acquired during their public service. Lobbyists with experience in the office of a US Senator suffer a 24% drop in generated revenue when that Senator leaves office. The effect is immediate, discontinuous around the exit period and long-lasting. Consistent with the notion that lobbyists sell access to powerful politicians, the drop in revenue is increasing in the seniority of and committee assignments power held by the exiting politician.
This gets to a point I've made before, which is that we tend to focus on the money in lobbying, but it's the connections that matter more. So I'll take the opportunity to repost this incredible graphic The Washington Post produced showing how lobbying firms prepared for health-care reform by hiring dozens of people who'd formerly worked for the relevant committees and senators. Click on it for a larger version.
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