Hargett supported "revolving door" bill - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Hargett supported "revolving door" bill

Representative Tre Hargett's jump from legislator to lobbyist is raising the eyebrows of some political experts, who find it ironic that Hargett has been a member of the joint house Senate ethics committee that is studying ethics reform.

Hargett is the top ranking Republican in the house, and is soon to be a lobbyist for national drug manufacturer Pfizer, a pharmaceutical company that maintains an active lobbying presence Tennessee.

"You can be in the legislature one day, be a leader in the legislature one day, and the next day, you're out lobbying the legislature on behalf of some major pharmaceutical company," said Action News 5 Political Analyst Mike Nelson. "I mean, this is an embarrassment for the entire state."

Last March, when Republicans aired their list of changes to clean up the perception that special interests can buy influence in Nashville, Hargett discussed a proposed bill that would stop politicians from quickly changing from lawmakers to lobbyists.

"One of the bills we will be proposing, I should say, will be a revolving door policy," Hargett said, "which means a member cannot lobby the general assembly or the administration for one year after leaving."

Wednesday, Hargett told Action News 5 by phone he "was just speaking on behalf of the caucus."

"If the revolving door bill was in place, I wouldn't be doing it," he said.

If the bill was in place, it would be illegal. Hargett was evasive when asked if he thought a bill like that would be beneficial.

"It's not necessarily the key to good government," he said.

"There are two problems," said Mike Nelson. "One, Tre Hargett is a hypocrite. He says there ought to be laws that prevent that sort of thing and then he does it."

Nelson says the other problem is Tennessee law currently allows lawmakers to make such a change.

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