Trent Lott’s Resignation Explained: More Time at the Lobbyist Trough

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


trent_lott_frown.jpg Why is Trent Lott leaving? To spend more time with his family? To return to his native Mississippi? Nope.

A Lott friend said part of the reason, and a factor in the timing, is a new lobbying regulation, signed by President Bush in September, extending the existing lobbying ban for former members of Congress from one to two years. The lobbying ban takes effect at the beginning of the year.

Ah, yes. A man who has spent much of his tenure in Congress making sure lobbyists have access to America’s politicians, and who benefited greatly in return, is how lining up for his turn at the trough. The idea that a politician would end his career in public service early just so he could fit in another year of growing rich by jockeying for special interests in kind of pathetic. But if Lott’s record with his son, also a lobbyist, is any indication, he’ll be successful enough at his new job to forget about his loss of integrity. From a 2006 Diddly Awards:

Chester Lott, the onetime Domino’s Pizza franchisee and polo player, tried his hand at lobbying for Edison Chouest Offshore, a firm that then happened to get a provision slipped into legislation by Chester’s dad, Senator Trent Lott (R-Miss.). The fix allowed the company to earn $300 million by sidestepping a 1920 law.

Update: Oooh, Lott’s denying it.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest