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Patricia O'Connell
Senior Communications Manager

Wiley Rein's Robert Walker Comments on Congressional Staffers' Outside Income

The Wall Street Journal
June 22, 2011

Robert L. Walker, former Chief Counsel to the House and Senate ethics committees and an attorney in Wiley Rein’s Election Law & Government Ethics Practice, is quoted in a Wall Street Journal article on outside income earned by congressional staff members from their previous employers or through side jobs. 

To avoid potential conflicts of interest between public duties and personal finances, congressional rules prevent legislators and their aides from using their government positions for personal financial gain.  If publically disclosed, however, the rules may allow for limited ongoing ties to former employers.  Executive branch employees face a higher bar, requiring a waiver in order to work on policies that could affect their financial interests.

“When it comes to addressing conflicts, Congress is much more reliant on sunshine compared to the executive branch, which means there is much more of a role for the public to raise concerns when conflicts are perceived,” Mr. Walker explained.