Door still revolving between Capitol, lobbyists

"This is a very lucrative avenue for former members of Congress," Holman said of the state-level lobbying. "They have as much, if not, more recognition than most state officials do."

Feeney, a registered lobbyist for two Florida cities, said he practices law "80% of my time." As a former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, "I know the players," he said.

Between 1998 and 2004, 43% of former lawmakers became lobbyists, Public Citizen reports.

The move can be lucrative. Former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle recently reported earning $2.1 million over two years as an adviser at lobbying firm Alston & Bird. The current majority leader's pay: $193,400 a year.

Those who joined groups that do lobbying say life is different. "It was nice to have a staff and say, 'I need a memo on this' and an hour later have it in my hands," said former representative Jim McCrery, who joined a government-relations firm in January. "Now, I'm doing the memos."

Where they are now

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