First, it was NHTSA head David Strickland. Now. former DOT Secretary Ray LaHood has cashed in his “public servant” chips to make a bundle representing the folks he used to regulate.  It wasn’t supposed to be this way:

With much ballyhoo, the Obama Administration announced at its outset that it would put a stop to the much-despised Washington revolving door, through which government officials step down, weary from their years of “public service” to take up lucrative new careers lobbying and influencing government on behalf of the industries they previously regulated.

So wouldn’t this apply to LaHood, Strickland and DeBoer? Why no, of course not. They are not, after all, going to be lobbyists — merely lawyers and policy advisors. You can, in other words, make a big show of closing the front door but it doesn’t do much good if the side door remains wide open.

Source: Ray LaHood adds another post-DOT title

Were I in charge of policy, I’d do two things: First, I’d pay the top people as much or more than the public sector.  I’d want the financial rewards of the job to be enough to attract and retain top folks.  Second, when the top folks do leave, I would bar them for a period of three years from accepting any compensation from any company that either (a) was regulated by the agency, or (b) accepts funds from groups that are regulated by the agency. 

Trying to pick which occupations a former staffer can hold is doomed to fail because it’s too easy to cheat.  “A lobbyist?  No, I’m a policy advisor!”  Cut off the ability to get paid in any capacity and the problem is solved.