Rep. Al Wynn
This spring, the fourth district of Maryland will hold a special election to fill the seat of retiring Representative Al Wynn. In the long history of the House, there have been many reasons that states have footed the expensive bill, as much as $2 million in this instance, for such rushed voting: deaths, indictments, sudden illness. But this special election is, well, special. That's because Wynn has raced to retire so that he can start his lobbying career as soon as possible. By vacating his seat in June, rather than January, he will be eligible to lobby six months sooner under House ethics rules. That means six extra months of cajoling his ex-colleagues to support the same sort of nefarious causes that were Wynn's hallmark in the House--estate-tax repeal, corporate-friendly bankruptcy reform, the Bush energy bill. His exit, in other words, is as classy as the rest of his career.