Higher Ed’s Version of the Revolving Door


One often hears complaints that legislators, especially at the federal level, court donations from powerful interests, introduce and seek to advance legislation that serves those interests, and then, when they leave office, continue to promote those interests as paid lobbyists.

Although the monies involved might be somewhat smaller, depending on the state, the same thing occurs at the state level—especially in states that have placed term limits on their legislators. In effect, term limits have made professional staffers and lobbyists the most knowledgeable and most powerful figures in those state houses. Ironically but all too typically, the term limits that were ostensibly intended to make state governments more democratic by preventing politicians from becoming entrenched in their elected offices have actually made governance less democratic by making much of the deal-making much less transparent and most of the actual deal-makers more shadowy. Indeed, as on the federal level, many of…

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