The K(a-ching!) Street Congressman.
AT LEAST 90 FORMER members of Congress are now active lobbyists, and their ranks keep on swelling. The latest congressman to pass through the revolving door between K Street and the Capitol is Rep. James Greenwood (R-Pa.). He has chaired a subcommittee that regulates the biotech and drug industries; so it should come as no surprise that Greenwood will now take the reins at the Biotechnology Industry Organization (too), a lobbying group with a $40 million annual budget and clients that include the pharmaceutical giants Pfizer, Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline, Wyeth, and Bristol-Myers Squibb.
More and more, legislators are cashing in with the very lobby shops that sought to influence them while they were in office. "It calls into question whether the lawmakers gave special treatment to issues in return for a job offer," says Steven Weiss of the Center for Responsive Politics. "It certainly creates that appearance."
In Greenwood's case, he accepted the Bio job in July, just days before he was to lead an investigation into the link between child suicide and antidepressants (including Pfizer's drug Zoloft), which postponed the hearings for two months. "I understand how this could raise an eyebrow," Greenwood told the Philadelphia Inquirer, while denying any conflict of interest. "B following A does not mean that A caused B," the congressman said.
BIO, whose board also includes a Pfizer vice president, will pay Greenwood $650,000 a year--plus as much as $200,000 in bonuses--for his help in "encouraging a regulatory climate in Washington that will help our industry." The congressman reports for duty the first week of January, right after leaving office.
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|Title Annotation:||Outfront; James Greenwood as lobbyist|
|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Nov 1, 2004|
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