The revolving door has been a lucrative business for many former Bush administration officials, who've landed plum jobs in the private sector. But there are a few notable ones who haven't yet: former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Alfonso Jackson.
The problem? Both still face criminal investigations into conduct during their respective tenures as head of their government agencies.
Likewise, Jackson resigned in March 2008 over allegations that he lied to Congress when he vowed he never intervened in contracting awards at his department.
That contrasts a pattern documented in a recent report by Citizens for Ethics & Responsibility in Washington, which found that numerous Bush administration officials leveraged their government service for lucrative jobs in the private sector. Gonzales' predecessor, John Ashcroft, founded his own lobbying group, The Ashcroft Group. Former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card joined the public relations firm Fleishman-Hillard and the board of Union Pacific Railroad. Former Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson became a consultant with Deloitte & Touche and lobbyist for Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld for numerous health companies.
Lacking more full time employment doesn't mean that these former Bush officials are sitting by idly.
Robert Bork Jr., spokesperson for Gonzales, said that he has been making public speeches and is writing a book about his experience in the administration.
"He is looking forward to the day when all of the investigations are done with," Bork said. He said Gonzales, who was once a partner at the Texas-based Vinson & Elkins law firm, has interviewed with law firms but "anybody in his situation would find it a little problematic to be able to assure a law firm or some potential employer that this won't be a distraction."
But, he added, "it will be over. We know it will be over some day."
Gonzales Speaks to the Press
Gonzales, who has been fairly quiet publicly since his resignation, has given several interviews in recent weeks. In an interview with the Austin-American Statesman, he said, "It's a rough economy right now, and it's a tough time for a lot of law firms right now."
He gave similar explanations to National Public Radio, saying that he believes his employment opportunities will improve when the economy gets better and after the investigation into his Justice Department comes to a close.
And he's still defending his controversial choices during his tenure. As he told NPR, "I don't think that there's going to be a prosecution, quite frankly,'' Gonzales said. "Because again, these activities.... They were authorized, they were supported by legal opinions at the Department of Justice.''
Jackson could not be reached for comment.