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Guest Post: Possibility that Senator Craig May Resign Before the End of the Year?

November 27th, 2007 by Halli

From Bryan Fischer of Idaho Values Alliance

Newly enacted ethics reform legislation will require any member of Congress who is in office on January 1, 2008 to wait a full two years after he leaves office before he can take a highly lucrative position as a Washington lobbyist.

Although Sen. Trent Lott yesterday denied that this change had any affect on his decision to resign his office by the end of the year, a common sense understanding of human nature naturally would lead an objective observer to suspect that, at a minimum, this factor was in the back of his mind.

In a similar vein, it is likely that this possibility is one that Sen. Craig is mulling over. To his credit, he has not used his congressional career to feather his own nest, and is not independently wealthy. (Although most Idahoans could live quite comfortably on his Senate salary of $165,200.)

Through his aggressive advocacy of guest worker programs, he has positioned himself well to represent agricultural interests upon his retirement from the Senate, and his lack of personal wealth may give him an incentive to accept such a position – if in fact it would be offered to him – as soon as possible.

If he retires before the end of the year, he will need only to wait one year before becoming eligible for a six-figure salary as a lobbyist, while if he is still in office on January 1, he’d have to wait two years. He will still be eligible for an annual retirement package of approximately $100,000 per year, based on his years of service in Congress.

The GOP has seen a rash of early retirements in the U.S. Senate this year – Sen. Lott makes six – and it is likely that the change in lobbying rules has a lot to do with it. The Republicans, through their own ineptitude and abandonment of conservative principles, seemed destined to remain a minority party after the ‘08 elections, and a number of Congressmen have decided they don’t relish the thought of serving without power and find the thought of a well-compensated post-congressional career irresistible.

Perhaps Sen. Craig will expand the number of early Senate retirees to seven.

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