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Legislative Issues in Texas: Revolving Door

The issue known as the revolving door has been a point of controversy in the field of Texas legislature for decades and is also a problematic issue globally. This is a phenomenon when high-level government employees transition to the private sector and major business owners become legislators. From a legal standpoint, this is a perfectly healthy practice, as people have the freedom to change their career paths and decide to pursue a different goal. However, upon further examination, this activity exhibits some issues. Although the people who partake in the revolving door scheme are technically not combining business and government work, they continue to have the connections, which they have acquired throughout their careers in either field. Consequently, numerous legislators and political activists have begun questioning whether it is ethical for these people to use their connections. Those who believe that such behavior is unacceptable are debating if there is an effective way to prevent regulators and private individuals from abusing the legislative system. There are also considerations on the topic of banning such practices for a set period.

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The issue of former legislators becoming lobbyists is problematic for several reasons. First of all, lobbying is an area where businesses are investing increasing amounts of funds, with a total of $3.42 billion spent from 1998 to 2018 (Kenton). Corporations are not known for spending such exorbitant amounts of money on projects that will not bring them even greater profits. Large companies are likely willing to use their resources to achieve favorable political outcomes. Having experienced regulators work as lobbyists can put them in an even more advantageous position. In addition to having a better practical understanding of the inner workings of the U.S. regulatory system, these people have connections that they can use to arrange for certain decisions to be made. They may also possess some information about their former colleagues that could, in extreme cases, be used to blackmail them. Thus, ex-legislators becoming lobbyists is a highly undesirable phenomenon for the people of the United States and the state of Texas in particular.

At the moment, several states have measures in place that are meant to counteract the revolving door problem. Most states have instituted a law, according to which a state official is prohibited from working as a lobbyist. The time of the ban differs from state to state, and there are sometimes exceptions for public employee work, and cases in which the former public worker is personally involved. The state of Texas, along with several others, currently does not have any regulation regarding this issue (Birdsong). Considering the issues discussed above, it seems logical that the state should create some form of the legislature to reduce the revolving door issue. However, a prohibition of one or two years may not be effective enough, as ex-politicians can still maintain their connections over that period if they plan to take advantage of them later. Perhaps the prohibition should be extended to five years, with an exception for public employee work, as this would not overly limit the ex-legislators’ career options while ensuring that the lobbying process remains fair.

If measures are not taken to stop former lawmakers from working as lobbyists, there can be severe consequences. It is often said that power corrupts, and if companies are allowed to easily affect regulation, they will use this power for profit, more than likely harming the rest of the population that does not have enough influence to stand against them. In the long term, such practices could increase corruption, as a growing number of politicians become involved in schemes designed to maximize the monetary gains of large corporate entities. This would have a severe negative impact on the level of life of the general population, as well as small and medium businesses.

Works Cited

Birdsong, Nicholas. “Revolving Door Prohibitions.” National Conference of State Legislatures, 2020. Web.

Kenton, Will. Revolving Door. 2020. Web.

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