Ben Nelson gets $1M payday

Former Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) on Wednesday revealed he would earn nearly $1 million per year in his new job as chief executive of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

Nelson, a centrist Democrat who retired from the Senate in January, told reporters on a press call that he does not plan to lobby the government as leader of the organization. That will be left to the association’s staff, he said, according to Insurance Journal.

Under ethics rules, Nelson is barred from lobbying Congress for two years, though he is permitted to lobby the administration.


The two-term Nebraska senator has held high-ranking positions at NAIC before, serving as its executive vice president from 1982 to 1985. On Tuesday, he announced his return to the group as CEO.

“I am honored to serve as CEO during such an important and exciting time in the regulatory community,” Nelson said in a statement. “After years in government, this is a homecoming for me.”

The "homecoming" will earn Nelson a base salary of $950,000 for at least two years, The Hill confirmed. That’s in line with the estimates of headhunters, who singled out Nelson as a top recruit for K Street after he announced his decision not to run for reelection.

Nelson has also accepted a position with the public affairs firm Agenda, where he will serve as a senior adviser. He has not revealed how much he will earn at that firm.