Dingell’s departure to be felt across K Street

Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) poses for a photo in his office on Capitol Hill, Feb. 4, 2009. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) poses for a photo in his office on Capitol Hill, Feb. 4, 2009. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

As the longest-serving member of Congress in history, and with three decades as the top Democrat on the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.), has seen dozens of his former aides move on to successful K Street careers.

Those who have passed through the revolving door and are currently registered lobbyists include Peter Filon, who worked on cable, telephone, Internet and broadcasting issues at the committee until 2006, when he was hired by Comcast to be a senior lobbyist -- a busy job these days.

Michael Robbins, Dingell's former chief of staff, made a move in 2011 to the Air Line Pilots Association, where he is director of government affairs. And Jeff Donofrio is on the lobbying team of the Ford Motor Co.

Dingell is just the latest influential member of Congress to announce that he's not running again. For former staffers who used their ties to their old bosses to help build businesses, that makes it a time to "pivot," as one former staffer on the Senate Finance Committee put it recently, as she reckons with the departure of chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.).

Or, as Patrick Griffin, who served as legislative affairs director in the Clinton White House, recently explained: There can be a “branding blip. It’s like, ‘He died and, oops, did you die, too?’ ”

Dingell, in his typically blunt manner, made clear Monday that he's "not going to be carried out feet first."

 

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