Posted by: Debby Durkee | January 20, 2011

Lobbyists create their own jobs.

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Lobbyists create their own jobs.

Timothy P. Carney shows how many on K Street in Washington, D.C. (that’s where a lot of lobbyists have their offices) got their jobs by working closely with those who write the laws. He calls the most recent of these practices: bail them out, regulate them, then work for them. This is where your tax dollars and your economy go to die. Can you say, “conflict of interest?” This is from the Washington Examiner.

In the summer of 2008, Senate banking committee chief counsel Amy Friend helped bail out Bank of America and the rest of the mortgage industry. A couple months later, Friend helped craft the Great Wall Street Bailout. After that, she helped her boss, Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., pass a sweeping financial regulation bill.

On Tuesday, Friend started her new job on K Street as managing director at Promontory Financial Group, the self-described “premier global financial services consulting firm,” to work with clients on “the regulatory implementation of the Dodd-Frank,” according to the firm’s press release. Snip –

Friend worked for Democrats Chuck Schumer and Rosa DeLauro before serving under the Comptroller of the Currency in the Clinton and Bush administrations. In 2008 Dodd hired her as chief counsel for the banking committee.

Dodd, on the Senate floor, thanked Friend by name repeatedly for her work crafting the 2010 financial regulation bill. After Dodd retired, Friend went to K Street. She may not register as a lobbyist, but instead consult with clients and prepare regulatory filings.

There are two types of people on K Street: access people, who can get you in the door; and policy people, who know what’s on every page of every relevant bill and regulation. Friend is the latter. While business will dry up for other Dodd alumni on K Street, Friend is valuable because — to quote one Republican lobbyist — “she knows what’s on page twenty-three-[bleep]ing-hundred of that bill,” and every other page, too.

In other words, Friend didn’t just write a landmark piece of legislation — she wrote her meal ticket.

Friend’s personal financial situation has blended murkily with her public service before. Bloomberg reporter Robert Schmidt wrote last year about her investments in banking and real estate stocks during the Year of Bailouts, 2008.

Two weeks before a Dodd-sponsored bailout of Fannie Mae passed the Senate, Friend purchased debt in the GSE. She invested tens of thousands of dollars in bonds from the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, including purchases in June, when Dodd was pushing a housing bailout. Her 2008 investments included bailout barons AIG, Freddie Mac, Bank of America (which bought subprime king and Dodd benefactor Countrywide that year), Wells Fargo, and mortgage insurer MGIC. Snip —

Now, I have a question. If she was working in the private sector and cashed in on insider trading, wouldn’t she be behind bars right now? I mean Martha Stewart spent five months in jail for saving $45,673 because of insider trading. Why is Amy Friend able to walk around free? Why are there different laws for those who work in government (at least if you’re working with Democrats) and those who work in the private sector? And, what was Tom DeLay convicted of and sentenced to three years in prison for? Money laundering — because his PAC sent corporate money to individual candidates running for election in Texas. Now, they didn’t prove he did this or that it was truly illegal, but he’s off to jail anyway. National Review says this conviction is a travesty and a criminalization of politics:

It is the result of an abusive prosecution that exemplifies the drive to criminalize politics and to make the ordinary processes of raising and spending funds for political campaigns a crime. Snip –

This was a phony prosecution from the very beginning. It took (Travis County prosecutor Ronnie) Earle three separate attempts before he could get a case that a grand jury or a judge would not throw out. Then he got DeLay indicted for behavior that was perfectly legitimate under campaign-finance laws, identical to the kind of fundraising done by practically every campaign committee and candidate in the country.

You can read more on DeLay here: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/256811/travesty-texas-editors

Back to Amy Friend and how the writing of “laws” perpetuates the growth in regulations which strangle our businesses. Just like protecting themselves from the Mafia by paying “protection” money, companies have to pay protection to those who will write or have written the laws and regulations that are strangling them.

…(Friend) will work on “the regulatory implementation of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, which, at 2,300 pages, is one of the most complex and wide-ranging overhauls of the financial regulatory framework in decades.”

Translated: “There’s a lot of lobbying left to do on this bill, and thousands of hurdles and loopholes to navigate — you’d better get the bill’s author on your side.”

Where’s the difference between politicos and shakedown artists in this scenario? I’m having trouble seeing the difference. As long as those who write the laws are exempt from them, there will continue to be a revolving door in Washington, D.C., where a perpetual motion machine uses influence and power to grease the gears and to line the pockets of politicos “legally.” Read all of Carney here:

http://washingtonexaminer.com/politics/2011/01/bail-them-out-regulate-them-then-work-them

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Responses

  1. Re insider trading. Isn’t it great that legislators and Washington insiders are not subject to the same rules as us mere mortals? One has to wonder how people arrive in Congress as mildly well to do and after a few years are millionaires. It is a systematic looting of the American people. This was one of the reasons for enumerated powers. Every foray into the private sector doesn’t produce more production and true wealth. It only produces lobbyist, insider trading and campaign contributions. The more regulation, the more need for lobbyist and influence peddling

    • Yes, from welfare mother to rich woman — Maxine Waters. Whatever happened to her ethics investigation? I mean poor old Charlie got his hand slapped but good. Maxine? Maxine? Are you ready for your hand slap as you used your influence to enrich yourself off of the taxpayers’ dime?


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