WASHINGTON—Sen. Harry Reid’s top aide received $1.2 million from Comcast Corp. after he began working for the Senate majority leader, joining a long list of congressional staffers who have collected money from past employers after starting on Capitol Hill.

The payment to Mr. Reid’s aide, David Krone, stemmed from an unusual promise Comcast made when he quit his job as its senior vice president of corporate affairs. Not long before he was offered the Washington job, the cable company agreed to buy his apartment for the price he paid a year earlier, protecting him against a substantial loss. Mr. Krone had purchased the condo when he moved to Philadelphia to work for the company.

A Wall Street Journal review of about 3,000 financial-disclosure forms reveals that about 250 congressional staff members earned a total of $13 million in 2009 from former employers, companies they run or other side jobs. The outside income ranged from the trivial—one aide made $2,700 competing in bass-fishing contests—to hundreds of thousands of dollars in deferred compensation, bonus payments or stock grants.

Although staff members on Capitol Hill can earn nearly as much as lawmakers, those leaving the private sector often take pay cuts. In 2010, the maximum salary for most aides was about $168,000, while rank-and-file members of Congress earned about $174,000.

For people leaving private-sector jobs, “compensation can be a challenge because it’s significantly less than what they were making,” says Washington executive recruiter Nels Olson of Korn/Ferry International. “There are definitely a lot of people who decide not to do it because it’s too much of a financial sacrifice.”

Mr. Krone, for example, earned about $165,000 working for Mr. Reid (D., Nev.) in 2009, public records indicate. In 2008, he earned nearly $3 million from Comcast, not including the $1.2 million condo payment he received after starting with Mr. Reid. There is no evidence that Mr. Reid has done anything in particular to benefit Comcast since Mr. Krone came to work for him.

Follow this link to read more: https://tinyurl.com/4yzuu68