"Incestuous, undemocratic, and potentially corrupting"

| Tue Jul. 11, 2006 1:56 AM EDT

... is what "critics are calling" the arrangement whereby a former top Congressional staffer goes to K Street, makes millions lobbying his former committee, then goes back to the committee and gets an $2 million handshake from his lobbying firm on the way out. ("Lobbyists," on the other hand, "say it's just the way things work in the complicated world of Washington." Yep. Real complicated.) Need we mention that the committee is Appropriations, aka Pork Central? Along the way, this excellent piece by the Post's Jeffrey Birnbaum notes that this is just one more glimpse into the GOP majority machine:

The Republican Revolution of 1994 ushered in a new congressional majority that professed to be distrustful of government but also worked overtime to maintain its control by directing federal aid into popular programs that would help reelect GOP members. Lawmakers were encouraged to earmark billions of dollars for thousands of home-state projects every year as a way to court their constituents.
And the lobbyists who make sure all that pork goes to the right people then hold Congressional fundraisers, which helps re-elect the incumbents, who turn around and hand out more earmarks, which keeps constituents happy and lobbyists cashy... ad infinitum. Nice work if you can get it.