Check out these two charts from Sunlight. The first shows that revenues from lobbyists with no government experience stayed steady over the 14-year period that Sunlight monitored. Revenues for lobbyists with government experience, on the other hand, soared more than 400 percent during that same period.
The second chart details the raw numbers of lobbyists over the past 14 years. Again, the growth in lobbyists comes heavily from those with prior government experience.
The trend is quite clear: Those hiring (and paying) lobbyists these days prize previous experience in government above all else. And, of course, "previous government experience" is code for relationships with lawmakers and staff that, at least in theory, opens doors and greases the legislative wheels.
The simple fact is that the revolving door between Congress and lobbying is being used far more than ever before. The bans may have slowed the move from public service to private sector but it has done nothing to end it — or even shrink it.