Ex-Congress members collect millions as corporate directors

Former Pennsylvania Gov. and first U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, who used to represent Erie in Congress, now pulls down $1.4 million a year (vs. base Congressional pay of $174,000, or $204,000 for Cabinet members) for serving on the board of directors at Princeton-based antibiotic developer Advaxis, Pennsylvania-based chocolate maker Hershey Inc. and Arizona security company LifeLock, Bloomberg reports here.

Among dozens of ex-Congress members whose publicly-reported private-sector paychecks were reviewed by the business-news service, only Eric Cantor, R-Va., the former House Republican leader voted out in last term's Congressional primary, collects more than Ridge -- $2 million a year, from investment banker Moelis & Co.  Though unlike for most ex-members collecting fat checks for monthly meetings at big tables, Cantor's gig looks like a fulltime job.

 Among top-paid Democrats, former House speaker Richard Gephardt, D-Missouri, is a $1 million-a-year man (combined board fees) for Ford, U.S. Steel and three other companies. Down the list, former U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley, D-N.J., brings in nearly $400,000 as board member at Starbuck's, the coffee chain, and QuinStreet, a California-based internet-advertising firm. 

The list doesn't include most of the private-company and association payments that also enrich well-connected former Honorables.