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Revolving Door Spins Quickly Between Congress and Wall Street

June 3, 2010

Revolving Door Spins Quickly Between Congress and Wall Street

New Analysis Shows Connections Between Congressional Banking Committees and Financial Sector Lobbyists

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Organizations in the financial services sector have deployed at least 1,447 former federal employees to lobby Congress and federal agencies since the beginning of 2009, according to a joint analysis of federal disclosure records and other data released today by Public Citizen and the Center for Responsive Politics.

This small army of registered financial services sector lobbyists includes at least 73 former members of Congress, of whom17 served on the banking committees of either the U.S. House of Representatives or the Senate. At least 66 industry lobbyists worked for these committees as staffers, while 82 additional lobbyists once worked for congressional members who currently serve on these key committees.

Further, at least 42 financial services lobbyists formerly served in some capacity in the U.S. Treasury Department. At least seven served in the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, including two former comptrollers.

“Wall Street hires former members of Congress and their staff for a reason,” said David Arkush, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. “These people are influential because they have personal relationships with current members and staff. It’s hard to say no to your friends, but that’s what Congress needs to do. Listening to them would result in a bill that would fail to get the job done and would disappoint the American people.”

Added Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, “Companies pay a premium for lobbyists who’ve spun through the revolving door because it can be a small price to pay relative to the huge payoff if they can shape legislation. These lobbyists tap insider knowledge and personal relationships, knowing that their old friends and former co-workers won’t want to let them down.”

Prominent former congressional members now lobbying on behalf of financial services sector interests include two former Senate majority leaders (Bob Dole, R-Kan., and Trent Lott, R-Miss.), two former House majority leaders (Dick Armey, R-Texas, and Dick Gephardt, D-Mo.) and a former speaker of the House (Dennis Hastert, R-Ill.).

The analysis is drawn from lobbying disclosure information filed with the secretary of the Senate, as well as the Center for Responsive Politics’ data.

The report includes tables listing former members of Congress, former staffers for the banking committees and lobbyists who previously worked for current banking committee members.

The report is available at https://www.citizen.org/sites/default/files/financialrevolvingdoors.pdf.

Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.citizen.org

The nonprofit, nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics is the nation’s premier research group tracking money in federal politics and its effect on elections and public policy. For more information, please visit www.opensecrets.org/about.