Stories From Washington’s Revolving Door

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Jo Ann Emerson

Rep. Jo Ann Emerson. (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)

Less than four weeks after Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO) won reelection to a ninth term with 70 percent of the vote, she announced her retirement from the House to begin a new career as the head the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association in February. The NRECA was born out of a Roosevelt-era public works project to electrify rural areas, but the consumer-owned nonprofit has since turned into an influential heavy hitter on Capitol Hill — it spent over $2 million in lobbying in 2012 and nearly $3 million in 2011. The organization has contributed $72,000 to Emerson and her husband (Emerson took her husband’s seat after he died in June of 1996) during their time in Congress. The outgoing CEO of the association had an annual salary of $1.5 million in 2010 — that’s about 8.5 times what Emerson makes as a congresswoman.
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