Rehberg’s office a hotspot for former lobbyists

Congressman: ‘Clearly the revolving door does not make me nervous.’

BILLINGS, Mont.—Congressman Dennis Rehberg admits he’s comfortable with the “revolving door” between his congressional office and DC lobbyists, highlighting a clear contrast with Montana farmer Jon Tester’s record of ethics and accountability.

“Clearly the revolving door does not make me nervous,” Rehberg said in a newly released recording of a speech to the American League of Lobbyists, an organization devoted to protecting the interests of lobbyists.

On Capitol Hill, the “revolving door” is a term that describes former congressional staffers who become lobbyists and use their connections to advocate for special interests.  Often these lobbyists go in and out of lobbying and congressional jobs.

Rehberg discussed his close relationship with DC lobbyists-turned-staffers to the American League of Lobbyists, specifically mentioning his deputy chief of staff, Kristen Smith.

“Kristen is a former staffer on the Hill and went to lobbying and I brought her back,” Rehberg said.  “I hired her because of her networking skills, of who she knows on the Hill, in the Senate and the House, and the ability to go out and put those pieces together.”

In fact, Rehberg has three former lobbyists on his congressional staff and eleven former employees are currently lobbying for special interest groups and big corporations.

Montana farmer Jon Tester, however, has closed the revolving door in his U.S. Senate office.

Tester made good on his promise to hold himself accountable with an unprecedented ethics policy that prevents former staffers who become lobbyists from ever being rehired.  Tester’s employees are also prohibited from accepting gifts, meals or travel.

“While Jon Tester holds himself accountable to Montanans, Congressman Dennis Rehberg’s office is a revolving door hotspot for lobbyists,” said Montanans for Tester spokeswoman Alexandra Fetissoff. “Dennis Rehberg’s record of wrong priorities proves just how much influence special interests have over the Congressman, and how out-of-touch he is with Montana.”

Tester is pushing the Closing the Revolving Door Act, legislation preventing former members of Congress from becoming lobbyists.

Read more about Rehberg’s speech to the American League of Lobbyists: