Does this make anybody else feel just a bit queasy?
Rebecca Ramos, the former chief of staff for the state senate, has been hired by the Necrason Group lobbying firm.
… Ramos downplayed the revolving door perception that could be attached to her switch from one of the most important positions in the Statehouse — assistant to John Campbell, the president pro tempore of the state Senate — to a role in which she will be directly influencing the lawmakers she formerly worked for.
By all accounts, Ramos did yeoman’s work as Campbell’s right hand, leading to a reasonably organized and effective session in the Senate after the disaster of 2012. And the Necrason Group — formerly Sirotkin & Necrason — is a so-called “white hat” lobbying firm that spends a lot of its time working for labor unions and other liberal causes.
But gee, this is awfully chummy. Her new employer changed its name after former principal Michael Sirotkin, who went the other way through the revolving door: he was appointed to the Senate to fill the vacancy created by the death of his wife Sally Fox. Indeed, in an indirect way, Sirotkin’s departure opened the door for Ramos’ hire.
Ramos denies her past Senate experience will be an unfair advantage:
“No one expects someone is going to do me a favor,” Ramos said. “Legislators make decisions based on what they think is right.”
And she’s probably right, although I have to think she’ll have an easier time getting calls returned than someone who didn’t work closely with Senate leadership (and who didn’t save John Campbell’s bacon in the process, as Ramos apparently did).
Even if there’s no corruption here, the optics are horrible. It’s the kind of thing that makes people believe the Great Government Game is rigged. And gives ammunition to the Republicans.
And makes me want to take a shower.