WASHINGTON — Former U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent has accepted a government affairs job with the law firm DLA Piper, setting up the former House Ethics Committee chairman to offer his knowledge of government and Congress to private clients.
Dent, a Republican from Allentown, will work in the firm's Philadelphia and Washington offices, he told the Inquirer and Daily News. He resigned from public office in mid-May.
Dent — who rose to national prominence as an outspoken critic of hard-right Republicans and President Trump — will now join an international law firm with offices in 40 countries, and whose lobbying clients include Philadelphia-based Comcast, the AARP, Coca-Cola, the PGA Tour, and the defense contractor Raytheon.
Although congressional rules bar former members from lobbying for one year after leaving office, many ex-lawmakers offer advice and insight before then without taking action that might be defined as lobbying. Dent did not rule out becoming a lobbyist in the future.
"When the time comes, I'm going to evaluate that, but I'm not against the idea of advocating for issues and clients that I believe in," Dent said. For now, "I expect to use my expertise and experience in a way that will be helpful to people who have a difficult time figuring out how our government works."
Dent noted that as a former lawmaker he is permitted "to pursue other options" when he leaves. He said he did not yet know which clients or issues he might focus on, since he had not started work yet.
Until recently, Dent led the committee that oversaw spending on military construction projects and veterans, and one of his last major acts in Congress was shepherding a $96.9 billion bill through the House Appropriations Committee.
"I just wanted to work with a firm that had a sterling global reputation," Dent said, citing his own experience on foreign affairs issues and military construction overseas. "The firm has a great global reach, a wonderful international platform."
Dent's government affairs job comes in addition to a post as a CNN contributor. Dent said DLA Piper would be his primary place of employment.
The firm employs several former lawmakers and federal officials, among them ex-Sens. George Mitchell and Saxby Chambliss, former Rep. Mike Castle, and former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. It had more than $7.6 million in lobbying revenue in 2017, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.
Dent was the leader of Republicans' centrist Tuesday Group before resigning.