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Round and Round She Goes – Lobbyists Return to Government

I mentioned in yesterday’s Roundup that incoming Republicans have hired a bunch of lobbyists, and I also mentioned Peter Orszag’s new job at Citigroup. Fittingly, Jack Lew CAME from Citigroup (with a stint at the State Department in between) to replace Orszag at OMB.

There have been more twirls of the revolving door in recent days, including this egregious one on the Senate Banking Committee, which is just going to be a mess next year.

Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.C., is almost certain to be chairman of the Senate Banking Committee next year, once current chair Chris Dodd, D-Conn., is out of office. Johnson has never had a good reputation with consumer advocates, in large part because he’s opposed nearly every piece of legislation designed to thwart predatory lending.

That perspective is not likely to change with his chairmanship. Johnson just hired a top bank lobbyist named Dwight Fettig to be a “senior policy adviser.” Fettig’s clients included some of the chief scumbags that wrecked the economy, secured epic bailouts, and opposed financial reform: the American Bankers Association, JPMorgan Chase, the National Association of Mortgage Brokers and the Vanguard Group hedge fund. Prior to peddling influence on behalf of the too-big-to-fail gang, he was the top “government relations” man at Freddie Mac. During the housing bubble.

By hiring Fettig, Johnson is sending the clearest signal possible to Wall Street: I’ve got your back.

Fettig, of course, used to work for Johnson as an aide. That’s why he got hired to lobby for the ABA and the other groups in the first place. Back and forth and back again.

John Boehner just hired the top lobbyist for the medical device industry as his policy director. Evan Bayh successfully got an exemption for the device industry in the health care deal, but eventually the industry did get hit with some fees. Don’t be surprised if the cry for “repeal” suddenly gets all mixed up with talk about crippling fees on the industry that supplies wheelchairs and catheters and the things you need to survive. The “wheelchair tax” sounds pretty good.

Brett Loper, the lobbyist in question, previously worked for Tom DeLay and the House Ways and Means Committee. Back and forth and back again.

We also learn in this article that Hal Rogers, the incoming chair of the House Appropriations Committee, is thinking about hiring a Lockheed Martin lobbyist.

Back and forth and back again.

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David Dayen

David Dayen