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74% Favor Banning Regulators From Working For Those They Regulate For At Least Five Years

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Americans overwhelmingly believe that government regulators should be banned from working for companies they regulate for at least five years. A sizable number also think companies that offer jobs to regulators should be banned from doing business with the government altogether.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 32% of American Adults feel that regulators should be forbidden entirely from working with companies they regulate, while another 42% think that ban should extend for five years. Only 10% believe there should be no ban whatsoever. Sixteen percent (16%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Nearly one-out-of-two adults (48%) say companies that offer jobs to regulators should be banned from doing business with the government. Just 21% disagree and oppose any such ban, while 30% are not sure.

These views are perhaps no surprise given that 51% of Americans think that when a company offers a government regulator a job, it’s a form of a bribe.  Fifty-nine percent (59%) believe some companies routinely hire regulators to get favorable treatment from the government, and nearly as many (53%) think companies that regularly hire former regulators get that special treatment.

The so-called “revolving door” with people going back and forth between government and private industry jobs is common in Washington, D.C. The practice raises conflict-of-interest questions but is generally  legal. The most recent high-profile case involves a Federal Communications Commission member who in January voted in favor of the merger of Comcast and NBCUniversal. Now that same commissioner has announced she is leaving the FCC to go to work for Comcast.

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The survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on May 20-21, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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