Will Barney Frank Lobby for a Financial Services Company? (Updated)
Or stand by a policy he once instituted?
12:09 PM, Nov 28, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
Over a year and a half ago, a former staffer to Rep. Barney Frank, the then-chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, took a job with Goldman Sachs as the financial firm’s top lobbyist in Washington, D.C. The staffer had helped write legislation while he was working in the House of Representatives that would have direct consequences on his new employer.
Frank’s response, at the time, was admirable: He “instituted a permanent ban on committee staff communication with Peter Roberson, an aide who left the panel for K Street after playing a lead role in crafting derivatives legislation,” according to the Huffington Post.
Today, Frank is expected to announce his decision not to run for reelection, after he completes his 16th term in office, at a press conference in Newton, Massachusetts. But what will he do next?
There is little question that he could work as a consultant or as some sort of lobbyist to various financial service companies and make a good deal of money. He probably knows the financial laws better than anyone else—and, therefore, he probably knows how to circumvent them better than anyone else. Given his expertise, knowledge, and experience, for a Goldman Sachs, or a Morgan Stanley, or a Bank of America, he would be a great hire, well worth their money.
The offers for Frank to work for a financial services company will come in. But will Frank take them, or continue the policy he instituted when his staffer did the same thing?
When his former staffer took a job at Goldman Sachs, Frank said that “Fortunately, examples of staff members doing what Mr. Roberson has done are rare, but even one example is far too much and that is why I wanted to make clear I share the unhappiness of people at this, and my intention to prohibit any contact between him and members of the staff for as long as I have any control over the matter.”
Given the position Frank will be in upon his retirement, it will be worth watching to see what Frank does after he leaves his current job.
UPDATE: At his press conference, Frank said, “Let me be very clear: I will neither be a lobbyist or an historian.” But, who knows? Maybe Frank won't lobby for Fannie, he'll be made head of it (they get good bonuses, I hear).