Trent Lott, “I have a six-year contract with the people of Mississippi,” announces retirement one year after election to begin lobbying career!

In a letter explaining his intent to retire from government service by the end of December this year, [Trent Lott]…denied that the change in lobbying laws (prohibiting senators from becoming lobbyists for two years, as opposed to one year at present), which kicks in on December 31, right after his re$ignation takes place, had anything to do with his decision.The following is reported by By Carl Hulse in the New York Times 11-30-2007:

“…What is even more striking is that Mr. Lott had barely begun his fourth term. Just a year ago, he persuaded the voters of Mississippi to send him back to Washington for another six years. Politicians are usually loath to break that unwritten agreement with the voters unless they have a pretty good reason. Some people expect politicians to fulfill their obligations.

Mr. Lott himself cited his bond with the voters in 2002 when he decided to remain in the Senate after being forced to step aside as Republican leader following the furor over a racially charged remark he made at Strom Thurmond’s 100th birthday party.

“I have a six-year contract with the people of Mississippi,” he said at the time. “I have a job to do.”

True, Mr. Lott exhibited some reluctance about running this time around and in 2006 flirted with retiring to go into the private sector. But he signed on again, citing the need to help the state recover from the hurricane that claimed his own home. Once he was back, he seemed to jump in with both feet, persuading his colleagues to give him a spot in the leadership — an amazing political rebound.

But the Senate evidently doesn’t hold the allure it once did. Among those departing in January 2009 — at the designated end of their terms — are Republicans Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, Wayne Allard of Colorado, John W. Warner of Virginia, Pete V. Domenici of New Mexico and Larry Craig of Idaho. The reasons include general frustration, changes in the political climate of their states and advancing years, not to mention an undercover sex sting and the prospect of remaining in the minority.

No doubt Mr. Lott, a lawmaker who took real joy in cutting deals both during his days in the House and as a skilled Senate broker, is frustrated by the current Senate stalemate. But the timing of his departure seems aimed more at beating tougher restrictions on lobbying by former members. And it seems more than coincidental that his friend and fellow deal maker, former Democratic Senator John Breaux of Louisiana, is breaking away from his firm to open a new lobbying and consulting shop.

The draw of the dollar on K Street is strong. Mr. Lott can make millions providing advice to big-money interests willing to pay handsomely for his tutelage on navigating Congress. Compared to some other former lawmakers working the street, Mr. Lott might be worth it. He really knows how to play the game after serving as whip in the House and both majority and minority leader in the Senate. He could be invaluable to insurance companies, airlines, banks, defense contractors, health care entities and anyone with tax issues, not to mention the oil and gas interests he and Mr. Breaux backed as lawmakers.

Mr. Lott might be the first senator to forfeit part of his term to become a lobbyist, but not the first who was checking his bank balance when he quit. Mr. Chandler, the Kentuckian who left to oversee baseball, made no bones about his motives. He later wrote that the $50,000 starting salary was a major factor.

“I was making $10,000 as a United States senator from Kentucky and losing the battle then common to senators who tried to maintain separate residences in Washington and their home states,” he said.

Translation: Show me the money.”

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