When Trent Lott resigned his U.S. Senate seat in December, it caught nearly everyone by surprise, until it was discovered that he retired just in time to avoid tougher ethics restrictions that took effect Jan. 1.
Congress had responded to the “revolving door” of lawmakers-turned-lobbyists to require a “cooling off” period between the time a public official wields government power and any chance that public experience can reap private dollars.
But, while Congress has adopted such ethics legislation, the Mississippi Legislature has not. In Lott’s case, the ethics regulations extend the moratorium period for lobbying by former Congress members from one to two years. In his one year off, Lott cannot directly lobby his former colleagues but can recruit clients and be a consultant.