June 11, 2010 

Financial Reform Conference Committee Offers Industry Lobbyists Chance to Reunite With Former Bosses

Analysis by Public Citizen, Center for Responsive Politics Shows 56 Industry Lobbyists Served on Staffs of Lawmakers Named to Conference Committee

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Lobbyists for the financial services industry enjoy longstanding ties to the members of Congress who were named this week to the conference committee on financial reform legislation, according to a joint analysis of available data released today by Public Citizen and the Center for Responsive Politics.

At least 56 current industry lobbyists previously served on the personal staffs of the 43 members of Congress named Wednesday to the conference committee, according to the study. Notably, these figures do not include 59 lobbyists who served on either the Senate or House of Representatives banking committee but never worked directly for a member. Those lobbyists were enumerated in a report published last week by Public Citizen and the Center for Responsive Politics.

The financial services industry’s links to the Senate’s representatives on the panel are particularly extensive. Collectively, 41 industry lobbyists once worked on the legislative staffs of the committee’s 12 senators. And each senator once employed at least one current lobbyist.

The chairman and ranking members of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Sens. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), employed the most industry lobbyists - eight each. At least seven current financial services lobbyists once served as chief of staff to a member of the conference committee.

“Lobbyists with these sorts of connections can have a profound effect on the outcome of legislation,” said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics. “Their knowledge extends not only to the issues, but, perhaps more importantly, to their former bosses’ cell phone numbers.”

Added David Arkush, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division, “The American people want reform, not a reunion. Given industry’s deep connections to lawmakers on the conference committee, it’s critical that Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) has committed to make the conference process the most transparent in history. Now the public can crash what ordinarily would be an insider affair and make sure lawmakers hear from the American people, not just Wall Street lobbyists.”