As The Revolving Door Turns

A senior congressional staffer is taking a new job that happens to coincide with her boss' committee assignment.


I just received an email from the outgoing chief of staff for outgoing Congressman Randy Forbes, who has long been spamming me, informing me that “Beginning next week I will be joining Lockheed Martin’s government relations team, focusing on Navy and Marine Corps programs.”

Well, of course she is.

Forbes, who was recently defeated in the Republican primary, is the Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, which, by strange coincidence, has oversight over Navy and Marine Corps programs. One wouldn’t be shocked if Forbes found gainful employment in that sector, too. Indeed, one would be shocked if he did not.

None of this, of course, is illegal. It’s not per se even unethical. But the appearance of impropriety is difficult to escape.

FILED UNDER: National Security, , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. gVOR08 says:

    You’re right that this is the corruption we should be worried about. The scandal is not what’s done that’s illegal, the scandal is what’s legal. And can you, James, see Trump, or any other Republican, doing anything about it? The party that reflexively supports defense spending? The Party of the

    Republicans favor small government. Government no bigger than necessary to buy their products and provide their subsidies.

  2. James Joyner says:

    @gVOR08: I don’t see the political class doing much about it. Clinton practically exemplifies cashing in, after all. And figuring out exactly how to draw the line—I actually want former Congressional staffers to be able to find gainful employment that utilizes their expertise—is challenging. But, sheesh, it looks bad.

  3. Jane2 says:

    It *is* unethical, and should be illegal. There should be a period of at least a year restricting hacks, flacks and politicians from taking lobbying jobs.

  4. Ben Wolf says:

    @James Joyner: The only surefire way to prevent this sort of thing is to follow Plato’s idea of banning government officials from any form of remuneration other than a public stipend for life. It was with this in mind that Congress created the presidential pension system; at the time he was living in poor financial conditions but steadfastly refused to work in business, believing it would demean the presidency.

  5. Argon says:

    “Ethics” is for professional organizations. Is there a professional organization that sets standards for Congressional aides? I suspect there are only laws that apply.

  6. barbintheboonies says:

    I wonder if we will ever get anyone in government that we can trust. Most likely not in my life time. I watched a documentary today on Free Speech TV. It was horrible, the conditions people lived through in the 18 and 19th century. People fought and died, and lived in deplorable conditions. I found out how the term redneck was started. They were the good guys fighting for better conditions for workers. Now some call these people deplorable. The rich bought their way out of wars that they started, then turned their backs on the soldiers when they returned home. Things got better for a while when people fought back, now any time we get a rise from the people, media turns them into thugs. I have a feeling our division in our country is no coincidence. It is there to keep us against each-other instead of rising against the powerful elite. If we allow them to go too far we will be living as our great grand parents did. It is enough to disgust us all, but we keep believing someone is going to make a difference.

  7. DrDaveT says:


    I wonder if we will ever get anyone in government that we can trust. Most likely not in my life time.

    Oh, bite me.

    I work with feds every day. My father was a government employee for 30+ years. I was a fed for 8 years, working at a national laboratory to put myself through college and grad school. I have worked with countless honest, dedicated, hardworking, underpaid and underappreciated civil servants over the years, from janitors up to Under Secretaries.

    If you really want to make sure that honest, hardworking, intelligent Americans do NOT choose to spend part of their careers in public service, by all means continue to underpay them, denigrate them, question their ethics, and otherwise vilify the people you depend on every day for services you apparently take for granted.

    And if you want to make sure that only the venal and the political hacks take those jobs, well… keep up the good work.

  8. barbintheboonies says:

    @DrDaveT: I meant elected government workers. I know you know what I meant. I don`t mean our soldiers either. Anyone who gets power over the people. OKAY So bite that.

  9. DrDaveT says:


    I meant elected government workers.

    So, you think President Obama is untrustworthy? What do you base that on?

  10. Gustopher says:

    Has there ever been any human system that is not prone to corruption and nepotism? From the largest corporation, government or religion down to picking kids for the dodgeball team. It’s human nature.

    I’m not saying that we shouldn’t do something about it when we can, but we shouldn’t be surprised or discouraged that it keeps happening.

    I am surprised that he is being so brazen about it, sending out bulk emails to announce it. That’s pretty cheeky.

  11. Han says:


    I found out how the term redneck was started. They were the good guys fighting for better conditions for workers. Now some call these people deplorable.

    NO ONE is calling the people fighting for better working conditions for workers DEPLORABLE.