Under current ethics rules, Cardoza will be able to offer strategic and tactical advice immediately, but must refrain from formal lobbying for a year. Cardoza said he signed recusal documents when he began negotiating with the Manatt firm, roughly 10 days ago.
The timing of Cardozas resignation means there will be no special election to fill his 18th Congressional District seat, which encompasses parts of San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Merced counties. His office staff will remain, taking care of constituent services but steering clear of political advocacy. Cardoza informed most of his staffers of his resignation plans in an emotional telephone conference call Monday.
His departure leaves House Republicans with a 240-190 majority over Democrats, with five House vacancies; by most political assessments, Republicans are favored to retain control of the House following the November elections.
Cardoza had announced last October he would not run for reelection, after the bipartisan California Citizens Redistricting Commission carved the San Joaquin Valley into new House districts. The redistricting essentially left Cardoza the choice of either retiring or facing off against his longtime friend and ally, Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno.
Cardoza entered his political career as a staffer for former state assemblyman and later Congressman Gary Condit. Although their relationship soured when Cardoza challenged a politically weakened Condit in 2002 the two men havent spoken in the past 10 years Cardoza retained several key Condit staffers and on Monday he offered praise for his onetime mentor.
The House is currently out on summer recess. Its expected to be in session for only about seven working days in September, and then will adjourn again in October so members can campaign. A lame-duck session will occur between November and January, though with uncertain prospects for finishing any work.