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Infographic of the Day: K Street, the Favored Employer of Ex-Congress Members

Shadow Congress lobbyist map

An interactive map from Talking Points Memo shows how K Street, that D.C. sinkhole of faceless movers and lobbyists, is in fact full of familiar faces: your ex-Congress members.

The map details the distribution of Congress members-turned-lobbyists across the United States. Scroll over the states to find out how many high-profile career changers are out there (172) and where they come from (Texas takes first place with 17; New York's a close second with 14). Then, click a state to draw up thumbnail sketches of the men — and five women — who at this very moment are probably altering the course of the nation over steak at Morton's. There are more Republicans than Democrats, but not as many as you'd think.

This isn't news, really. We all remember Bob Dole's maritally complex foray into lobby-dom and Tom Daschle's "special-policy" advising, which partly cost him a job in the Obama cabinet. It makes perfect sense for career schmoozers to monetize their schmoozing. Nevertheless, the graphic's surprising for conveying, with great economy, how rampant this stuff is. As the accompanying article points out, 172 is nearly a third the number of people in Congress at the moment. Seventeen is almost half Texas's current representation. (Contrast that to California, where just six former House members work as lobbyists, which equals about 10 percent of the state's Congressional reps.)

Also, it's fun to scroll through the profiles, some all-too familiar like Dennis Hastert, but most of them old white dudes you've never heard of, with great old white-dude names you'll never hear again: Ronald Packard, L.A. "Skip" Bafalis, Donald Lee Nickles. They sound so sweet! But then you start thinking about the sort of things they do every day and the kind of people who could be in their position someday and, well, you start to get very, very worried.

[Via Talking Points Memo]