Good to see that reforms have really slammed that doggone revolving door shut at the General Assembly. A few weeks ago it was former Speaker Harold Brubaker resigning mid-term and announcing plans to cash in by becoming a consultant and lobbyist. Now, this week’s it’s a powerful state Senator.
According to WRAL’s Mark Binker, Senator Richard Stevens, a Republican and one of the Senate’s most influential members, resigned from the state Senate on Friday. It’s all happened so fast that it’s not yet been noted on the General Assembly’s website.
Today he was at work at a big downtown law firm with a large portfolio of high-profile corporate lobbying clients.
Or at least it sure looked like he was already at work when he was having lunch today in a public restaurant in downtown Raleigh with his new colleague, one of the firm’s top lobbyists.
None of this is to accuse the firm or Stevens of any legal wrongdoing. In its announcement of Stevens’ hiring, the law firm said nothing about Stevens becoming a lobbyist and state law prohibits him from lobbying state government – but not local government – for six months after his resignation. So, at least until next March (about the time the 2013 session really gets going in earnest), Stevens won’t be able to lobby his former colleagues.
Still, having said this, the fact that Stevens seemed to have no concerns at all about dining publicly with the firm’s main lobbyist on the day his resignation and hiring were announced seems to provide compelling evidence that the state’s “cooling off” law sure isn’t causing anybody in the political revolving door world to worry too much about appearances.