Revolving door bans ensure that lawmakers-turned-lobbyists cannot use their time in public office to build up a client list on the taxpayers’ dime. The majority of states require some length of time—a so-called cooling off period—before former legislators can work as lobbyists among their former colleagues. The length and strictness of these requirements, however, varies significantly from state to state.

This report assesses states’ revolving door bans, based purely on the length of the cooling off period. It is beyond the scope of this report to assess the ways in which these laws are designed to be more or less comprehensive or enforceable. However, states that have taken clear steps toward codifying a cooling off period receive a positive score for fostering a climate where citizens can better trust that their elected representatives are indeed working for their constituents and not their own future bottom lines.

For a more detailed explanation of each factor, including citations, please download the full report.

Click to view scoring methodology
  1. Current Policy in State
    Points added to score
  2. State law requires a cooling off period of at least two years
    0 points
  3. State law requires a cooling off period of one to two years, or at least until the end of the next regular LEGISLATIVE session
    5 points
  4. State law requires a cooling off period of less than one year
    10 points
Policy Recommendation for This Factor
Require a broad, two-year cooling off period for former elected officials

States should require former elected officials to take a two-year cooling off period before lobbying. These requirements should be written broadly to encompass all statewide and legislative elected officials and the full scope of advocacy activities.

Click here to see a full list of policy recommendations to improve the health of state democracies based on the findings of this report.

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