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Former Secretary of State Colin Powell greets former Rep. Jane Harman as he arrives for a lunch hosted in honor of Prime Minister David Cameron.
Is there life after Capitol Hill? That’s the question more than a half-dozen California members of Congress will discover next year as they leave lawmaking because of retirement or election defeats. But for one former South Bay congresswoman, that life is just fine.
When Jane Harman served in Congress, she received all sorts of security briefings as a member of the homeland security and counter terrorism committees. These days, Harman serves as the head of DC think tank the Wilson Center, but she still gets briefings as an advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Pentagon.
She says she's "hardly away from the issues; what I’m away from is some of the toxicity of this place."
That place is Capitol Hill, where she was asked to testify at a hearing on continuing security challenges. Harman admits even though she’s not running for reelection, she’s still fundraising — raising it "for an institution, not for me!"
She says she's not tied to federal fundraising laws for lawmakers, so she tries to ask for amounts "larger than $2,500."
Harman does miss her congressional colleagues.
"Some of my closest friends live up here," she says, including Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine (with whom she has a "Thelma and Louise" routine that reportedly tops the movie).
When Harman testified before the Senate Homeland Security Committee Thursday, longtime married Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman confessed that he loved her, something he said he’s never told another witness at a Congressional hearing.