When one of the Senate’s longest serving members talks about retirement it certainly generates much anticipation on K Street. Ivan Adler assesses her impact and potential value in The Hill.
By Kevin Bogardus | March 1, 2012
Retiring Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) would move toward the top of K Street’s recruiting class if she decided to become a lobbyist next year.
Several headhunters told The Hill that because of Snowe’s long service in the Senate, senior experience on prized committees and bipartisan, centrist reputation, the Maine senator would be a hot commodity in the influence industry. She could expect a starting annual salary at a law or lobby firm of between $500,000 and $1 million, according to headhunters’ estimates.
Larry Latourette, president of Veritas Lex, said he considers Snowe one of the top potential recruits next year.
“Bottom line, many blue-chip clients would be thrilled to have Olympia Snowe representing them,” said Latourette, a headhunter for law and lobby firms. “While I doubt if she will sign up for a full-time lobbying gig after deciding that life was too short to put up with the Hill’s partisanship for another six years, she would be a home run for any such firm lucky enough to attract her.”
Headhunters said they could see Snowe, known as a hard worker, slotting in as a lobbyist, though they said she would also be a good fit for a senior adviser position that wouldn’t require her to register under the Lobbying Disclosure Act.
In recent years, a number of ex-lawmakers have taken advisory positions on K Street that do not require them to directly lobby their former colleagues in Congress.
Snowe announced Tuesday that she would not seek reelection. The announcement was a surprise to many, and the now-open seat in liberal-leaning Maine could help Democrats hold the Senate.
If Republicans were to win control of the upper chamber in 2012, headhunters believe Snowe’s value on K Street would rise, but only marginally so.
“Not enough to make a difference,” said Ivan Adler, a principal at the McCormick Group, about the rise in Snowe’s worth if the Senate switched hands.
“Even if the Senate remains in the hands of the Democrats, her ability as a Republican to work across party lines makes her very valuable,” Adler said.
In an interview Wednesday on MSNBC, Snowe was not specific about her future plans, though she said she would like to help end what she sees as Capitol Hill’s dysfunctional culture