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Jim Moran Doesn’t Miss Congress

Moran starts with McDermott Will & Emery on Feb. 2. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Moran starts with McDermott Will & Emery on Feb. 2. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

For the record, ex-Rep. James P. Moran doesn’t miss Congress. At least, “not yet.”  

Perhaps it’s because, after sparking a national debate by arguing that lawmakers on Capitol Hill are “underpaid,” he is launching into the lucrative world of lobbying.  

The Northern Virginia Democrat’s last day in Congress was Jan. 3. He begins his new gig, as a senior legislative adviser with McDermott Will & Emery’s Government Strategies Practice Group on Monday, as first reported by the National Law Journal.  In an interview, Moran said he was looking for a post-congressional position that would let him continue to work in the areas he cares about most — such as environmental issues and sustainable energy — would “pay reasonably well” and also provide an opportunity to work with people he likes and respects. Moran didn’t have to “shop around” to find McDermott — they approached him.  

As a lame duck, Moran complained that members of Congress were underpaid, and proposed adding a modest per diem allowance to the $174,000 annual salary. “A lot of members can’t even afford to live decently in Washington,” he told CQ Roll Call  in April.  

Moran still thinks raising congressional pay is “the right thing to do and the vast majority of my [former] colleagues support it,” though they might not vote for it. Will he make more working out of the McDermott Building in Northwest Washington than he did on the Hill?  

“I sure hope so,” Moran candidly answered. Though he did not rank among the 10 poorest members in CQ Roll Call’s most recent Wealth of Congress report, Moran has had his share of financial difficulties during his 24 years in Congress. On Thursday, Moran said his new paycheck will be contingent on his work.  

Former House lawmakers are prohibited from lobbying their former congressional colleagues for one year after leaving office. Moran will start out as a strategic adviser, then transition into some lobbying work after the proscribed period, according to Steve Ryan, partner and head of the McDermott’s Government Strategies practice group.  

“We’re very, very careful,” Ryan said, referring to federal ethics laws.  

While Ryan has known and admired Moran for years, he said his firm has never lobbied the senior House appropriator for defense or other contracts. Moran will bolster the firm’s lobbying portfolio on defense, government contracting, technology and trade. Ryan said the congressman’s contacts around the region will be a great asset.  

As a long-serving member of the House Appropriations Committee, Moran has a high profile in the defense and government contracting industry. He also co-founded the pro-business New Democratic Coalition, and championed the “Dulles Technology Corridor,” making inroads with the tech sector.  

Asked if he missed Congress, Moran said, “not yet.”  

“I’m not sure I’m going to a whole lot,” he added. “We really weren’t getting a whole lot for our efforts.”  


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