Dozens of people from the Bush administration’s domestic security team assembled after the 2001 terrorist attacks are collecting bigger paychecks working on behalf of companies that sell domestic security products, many directly to the federal agencies the officials once helped run, the New York Times reports. At least 90 officials at the Department of Homeland Security or the White House Office of Homeland Security, including former Secretary Tom Ridge, the former Deputy Secretary Adm. James M. Loy; and the former under secretary, Asa Hutchinson – are executives, consultants, or lobbyists for companies that collectively do billions of dollars’ worth of domestic security business.
More than two-thirds of the department’s initial most senior executives have moved through the revolving door. “People have a right to make a living,” said Clark Kent Ervin, the former inspector general of the department, now at the Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan public policy research center. “But working virtually immediately for a company that is bidding for work in an area where you were just setting the policy – that is too close. It is almost incestuous.” Federal law prohibits senior executive branch officials from lobbying former government colleagues or subordinates for at least a year after leaving public service. By exploiting loopholes in the law – including a provision drawn up by department executives to facilitate their entry into the business world – it is often easy for former officials to do just that.