Baucus Deals Blow to Lobbyists

Moneybox
A blog about business and economics.
April 23 2013 10:43 AM

Max Baucus Just Cost His Ex-Staffers a Lot of Money

2624616
The people who are really going to suffer from Sen. Baucus' retirement are the former staffers working as lobbyists

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Max Baucus, the powerful veteran Montana Democrat who'd gotten cross-ways with the White House on a number of issues this year as he looked ahead to a tough re-election battle in Montana, announced today that he'll retire instead. Retirements are usually bad news for the incumbent's party, but in this case it's probably a net win for Democrats. Baucus isn't popular, Montana Democrats have a strong candidate in the form of former Gov. Brian Schweitzer, and freed from re-election concerns Baucus will have less incentive to distance himself from the party leadership.

The people who are really going to suffer here are the small army of former Baucus staffers working as lobbyists. Any veteran legislator ends up creating a K Street trail of former staffers, but Baucus was a golden ticket. As a Montana Democrat, his vote is less predictable and partisan than that of a Vermont or Massachusetts Democrat, so he's open to persuasion on a wider range of topics. And as chairman of the Finance Committee, he leads a panel that's subject to much more lobbying than other important committees such as Judiciary or Foreign Affairs. Ties to Max Baucus, in other words, have been some of the most lucrative around. Research shows that lobbyists earn wage premia for both issue expertise and connections but the connections premium is larger. So the former Baucus staffers working on health care and tax issues aren't going to be out on the streets, but are going to substantially less hot commodities.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

TODAY IN SLATE

Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case

The Jarring Experience of Watching White Americans Speak Frankly About Race

How Facebook’s New Feature Could Come in Handy During a Disaster

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

View From Chicago

You Should Be Able to Sell Your Kidney

Or at least trade it for something.

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Terrorism, Immigration, and Ebola Are Combining Into a Supercluster of Anxiety

The Legal Loophole That Allows Microsoft to Seize Assets and Shut Down Companies

  News & Politics
Jurisprudence
Oct. 19 2014 1:05 PM Dawn Patrol Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s critically important 5 a.m. wake-up call on voting rights.
  Business
Business Insider
Oct. 19 2014 11:40 AM Pot-Infused Halloween Candy Is a Worry in Colorado
  Life
Outward
Oct. 17 2014 5:26 PM Judge Begrudgingly Strikes Down Wyoming’s Gay Marriage Ban
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 17 2014 4:23 PM A Former FBI Agent On Why It’s So Hard to Prosecute Gamergate Trolls
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Behold
Oct. 19 2014 4:33 PM Building Family Relationships in and out of Juvenile Detention Centers
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 17 2014 6:05 PM There Is No Better Use For Drones Than Star Wars Reenactments
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 20 2014 7:00 AM Gallery: The Red Planet and the Comet
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 16 2014 2:03 PM Oh What a Relief It Is How the rise of the bullpen has changed baseball.