Think Progress covers the story...
Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) is reportedly informing close allies that he plans to resign his Senate seat before the end of the year. NBC reports, “It’s possible a formal announcement of his plans could take place as early as today.” Politico adds, “If he resigns, Lott would become the sixth Republican senator to announce they were stepping down this election cycle.”Think Progress also covers what Senator Lott will be going into after he reigns. You guesses it -- lobbying...
UPDATE: Lott was forced from his Senate Majority Leader seat in disgrace in late 2002 after hailing the segregationist platform of former Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-SC). Speaking at a 100th birthday party celebration for Thurmond, Lott said, “I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years, either.” He regained a leadership post after the 2006 midterm elections.
UPDATE II: Lott has “scheduled two news conferences in his home state later in the day.” AP reports, “No reason for Lott’s resignation was given, but according to a congressional official, there is nothing amiss with Lott’s health. The senator has ‘other opportunities’ he plans to pursue, the official said, without elaborating.”
UPDATE III: Lott’s term expires in 2012, therefore a resignation would trigger a special election for a replacement to serve the remainder of his term.
UPDATE IV: “While the exact reason Lott is stepping down before he finishes his term is unknown, the general speculation is that a quick departure immunizes Lott against tougher restrictions in a new lobbying law that takes effect at the end of the year. That law would require Senators to wait two-years before entering the lucrative world of lobbying Congress.”
UPDATE VI: “Speculation on who Barbour might pick includes Rep. Charles W. “Chip” Pickering Jr. (R-MS) and Rep. Roger Wicker (R-MS). For Democrats, former Mississippi Attorney General Mike Moore (D) is the most prominent Democrat mentioned as a possible candidate for the seat in 2008.”
Earlier today, news broke that Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott (R-MS) intends “to resign his seat before the end of the year.” Lott will explain his plans in two news conferences in his home state of Mississippi later today.LINK: Lott Resigns To Enter ‘Lucrative’ World Of Lobbying That He Worked In The Senate To Protect
Though the reasons for Lott’s resignation are still unknown, a “congressional official” told the AP that “there is nothing amiss with Lott’s health” and that “the senator has ‘other opportunities‘ he plans to pursue.” NBC News reports that Lott’s “other opportunities” involve joining the “lucrative world of lobbying Congress” before “tougher restrictions in a new lobbying law” take effect:
While the exactly reason Lott is stepping down before he finishes his term is unknown, the general speculation is that a quick departure immunizes Lott against tougher restrictions in a new lobbying law that takes effect at the end of the year. That law would require Senators to wait two-years before entering the lucrative world of lobbying Congress.
“A Lott friend” confirmed to the Politico that the new lobbying law is “a factor in the timing” of his resignation.
Lott, whose son is a lobbyist, was part of a small bloc of conservatives who voted against the ethics reform bill in August that included the two-year revolving door ban. His vote reflected his longtime position as an opponent of lobbying reform. Here are a few more examples of Lott’s defense of his potential, soon-to-be job:
- In Jan. 2006, Lott praised “the practice of secretly inserting special projects into spending bills at the behest of lobbyists,” calling it “an effective way for Congress to address a problem or need back home.”
- In Feb. 2006, Lott derided the effort to fix lobbying loopholes after the Jack Abramoff scandal as “the usual over reaction that we see happen quite often in Washington.”
- In March 2006, Lott voted against establishing a Senate Office of Public Integrity.
- In March 2006, when Congress sought to ban free meals from lobbyists, Lott defended the free meals, saying a ban would imply “that we can be had for the price of a lunch or dinner.”
Lott’s defense of lobbyists should come as no surprise considering how well they treated him while in office. Earlier this year, the Washington Post reported that Lott topped “the list of current lawmakers who have most frequently been jetted around the country aboard the luxurious private jets of Corporate America.”
Now, with tougher restrictions looming, Lott appears likely to pass through the revolving door to take the type of “lucrative” lobbying job that he fought so hard in the Senate to protect.
UPDATE: In a press conference today, Lott denied that the upcoming ban played “a big role” in his decision.
Enjoy the private sector, Senator. And please, try not to be racist... again...