Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., was exaggerating a bit in these comments quoted by National Review's Jonathan Strong: "Capitol Hill aides, he said 'may be 33 years old now and not making a lot of money. But in a few years they can just go to K Street,' the Washington, D.C., vernacular for becoming a lobbyist, 'and make $500,000 a year.' "
But he was onto something true — Hill staff (and, frankly, Congressmen) often cash out and become high-paid lobbyists. So I started wondering: Which Gingrey aides have done this?
The answer: not too many. Russ Choma at the Center for Responsive Politics has the story:
According to OpenSecrets.org data, only three former Gingrey staffers that we know of have left his office for K Street employment, but at least one was fairly prominent in Gingrey's political world.
And he still is.
Mitch Hunter, Gingrey's former chief-of-staff, left in 2011 to become a registered lobbyist with the firm Turner, Bachman & Garrett. Not only that, but Hunter now represents, among others, Wellstar Health Systems, a Georgia hospital company whose executives have given Gingrey almost $20,000 in donations so far this year. Wellstar was his top donor in the 2012 election cycle, forking over about $17,000.