Most Former Congressmen Become "Strategic Advisers," Not Lobbyists

Tennessee had three congressman leave office last year but they were prevented from becoming lobbyists by the "cooling off" rule that prevents newly departed members from lobbying their colleagues.

The deadline has now passed and The Hill newspaper found 30 members who left last year who have signed on with lobbying firms or firms that employ lobbyists.

But only 10 of them have registered as a "lobbyist." Most have preferred to be strategic advisers to lobbying efforts, avoiding the "lobbyist" tag that might preclude their seeking public office in the future. (Shades of Newt Gingrich, the non-lobbyist millionaire.) Democrats Bart Gordon and John Tanner, who retired from their Tennessee districts last election and unlikely to seek office again, are among the 10 registered as lobbyists.

Zach Wamp, who left his seat in a failed attempt to become governor, has preferred to form his own business consulting company (in case you want a government contract) with headquarters in his home base of Chattanooga. Leaving his options open