The political career of Eric Cantor (R-Va.) is worth more alive than dead on K Street, where headhunters already are assaying the price tag for luring the voter-ousted House Majority Leader into the lobbying business once his six-term Congressional stint ends.
According to The Hill, Cantor’s surprise GOP primary loss to conservative challenger Dave Brat in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District race has set off an “unprecedented” rush among K Street recruiters to put a dollar value on Cantor’s insider’s connections as House Majority Leader.
“The loss instantly catapulted Cantor to the top of the list of prized recruits for trade associations and law firms in Washington,” wrote The Hill Thursday:
Headhunters said the GOP leader would be welcomed with open arms — and a hefty payday — should he decide to leave politics for a new life in the private sector.
“I think Eric Cantor, given his experience and depth and breadth of his relationships — if he decides to go into the field of advocacy would be a highly-prized ‘get,’ if you will,” said Nels Olson, the head of the Washington office for Korn Ferry. “It will take a while for the ramifications to settle.”
… Cantor has more going for him than just his credentials: Between his leadership PAC and his campaign committee, the Virginia Republican has more than $2 million that he can use to support state and federal candidates.
Being an entrenched part of the establishment political class has its perks, and Cantor hasn’t indicated which of his many post-Congressional career options he’ll pursue. If Cantor decides to go full lobby, he’d have to sit out 2015. The law requires former House members to wait a year before entering the lobbying world (former Senators must wait two years.)
As The Hill observes, the lobbying industry cherishes the influence, networked connections and Capitol Hill insight of former party leaders. “Most prominently, former Democratic leader Dick Gephardt (Mo.) founded a consulting firm, the Gephardt Group, not long after retiring from Congress in 2005. Two years later, he registered to lobby and formed an advocacy arm called Gephardt Group Government Affairs,” the paper reports.
“Gephardt’s lobbying operation brought in nearly $4.8 million last year from clients including Google, General Electric, Boeing and UnitedHealth Group.”
For the elected class, getting voted out of office is only the beginning.