The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

LaHood becomes well-connected adviser to law firm

(Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Former U.S. transportation secretary Ray LaHood, who left a school teaching job decades ago for a career on Capitol Hill that included 14 years as a congressman, used to joke that his wife wanted him to get out of government so he could “make some real money.”

That moment may have come. The 68-year-old has joined the law firm DLA Piper as a senior policy adviser in the company’s Chicago and Washington offices. While LaHood is no lawyer, he’s often displayed Lincolnesque traits in unknotting warring parties in politics. With plenty of Washington savvy and easy entrée on the Hill and in the Obama administration, look for him to be a major rainmaker and problem solver for Piper. He takes along with him Joan DeBoer, who was his chief of staff at USDOT.