House Speaker Paul Ryan could very well follow other lawmakers into lucrative law and lobbying jobs after he leaves Congress next year. Firms will almost certainly woo him with large pay packages to attract his business and political ties.
Ryan and more than two dozen other Republicans, including three senators, are retiring. Some face uphill primary battles or are winding up long congressional careers. Others still are turned off by partisan rancor, and still others don’t want to be around if the GOP loses control of one or both chambers in November’s midterms.
Around 20 Democrats also have indicated they won’t seek reelection. Many who leave the Hill will stay in Washington where their job prospects are rosy-particularly for Republicans because of their contacts with industry and government decision makers in the current administration.
In the two decades Ryan has served in Congress, 430 of his Senate and House colleagues- both Republicans and Democrats-have joined law or lobbying firms, or formally registered as lobbyists, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Some sit on corporate boards or represent trade associations or businesses. Others hold director seats and lobby.
In Ryan’s case, “his high profile makes him very attractive. I would be surprised if he would go for less than $2 million,” said Jeffrey Lowe, global law firm practice leader for Major, Lindsey & Africa. The legal recruiter handles high-level moves of government officials, including some lawmakers to private law and lobbying firms.
“You would not find him working on an hourly basis writing briefs or merger agreements,” Lowe said, if he were to move to private practice. “Ryan would be among those that are influencers and door openers for clients. If clients have an issue, he would be a person who would help find the right government person to talk to or the right lawyer to deal with it.”
Only about 10 firms would be in the category of hiring at Ryan’s level, Lowe said.