House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp would be coveted by the private sector if he were to choose to head downtown after his retirement.
The Michigan Republican announced last month he would not run for another term, opening the possibility of a bidding war for a powerful chairman with deep knowledge of tax policy and the IRS code.
Washington headhunters say he could earn almost $1 million per year at a lobby firm and would likely be in the seven-figure range if he decided to go to a trade association.
“Let’s put it this way, if he wants to go to K Street, he will be welcomed with open arms from one side of the street to the other,” said Ivan Adler, a principal at The McCormick Group.
“Having the background in taxes is like finding Willy Wonka’s golden ticket, and he’s got it,” Adler said.
The 12-term congressman has not said what he plans to do after leaving Congress, saying he remains focused on making the most of his final months with the gavel, even if his sweeping proposal for tax reform appears to have stalled.
“During the next nine months, I will redouble my efforts to grow our economy and expand opportunity for every American by fixing our broken tax code, permanently solving physician payments for seniors, strengthening the social safety net and finding new markets for U.S. goods and services,” Camp said in a statement announcing his retirement.
Still, among the class of lawmakers retiring at the end of the Congress, few could make a bigger splash on K Street than Camp.
“I’m sure his phone is ringing,” said Nels Olson, a vice chairman at Korn/Ferry International who runs the executive search firm’s Washington office.
The story goes on to mention how typical this sort of “retirement” is among Congressmen. It points out how well others have done for themselves after serving as the chairmen for the House Ways & Means Committee.
Essentially, because there is tremendous power and money at stake in government, and because it is so Big that few people can figure it all out, a person like Camp can become a guide and ambassador into the bowels of the bureaucracy on behalf of those who are trying to avoid harm or gain favor. Supposedly he has “deep knowledge of tax policy and the IRS code.” I suspect that is because it is really about the people and how they operate. It isn’t written in a code anywhere. The code is too complicated to understand anyway. You want someone with experience who can predict how the IRS will behave.
So exactly how would Camp personally benefit if the IRS were abolished tomorrow? Would he be happy or sad for such a change?