January 5, 2008

I Don't Care Much For Politicians

posted by m.d.

But it worries me when they leave office to become Washington lobbyists, as Representative Richard Baker is considering:
In an interview, Baker said he will enter into talks with the Managed Funds Association, the Washington trade group representing the $1.8 trillion hedge fund industry. He said he could decide within "a week or ten days" whether he will take a job as president and chief administrative officer.


If he takes the job, Baker said he could step down by early February. His departure would be the latest in a sudden exodus from Capitol Hill of Louisiana lawmakers.
From MFA’s website, emphasis mine:
MFA meets regularly with policy makers and their staff. To date MFA has met with more than 140 Members of Congress and staff.

MFA testifies at hearings on Capitol Hill on a variety of issues, including systemic risk, pensions, and taxation:

March 13, 2007—MFA Director and Clinton Group Founder and CEO George Hall, MFA Member and Taconic Capital Advisors Co-Founder and Principal Kenneth D. Brody, and MFA Member and Kynikos Associates Founder and President James S. Chanos testified before the House Financial Services Committee for a hearing entitled “Hedge Funds and Systemic Risk in the Financial Markets.”
From Baker’s bio page, emphasis mine:
Baker also serves as a longstanding member of the House Financial Services Committee, where he is widely viewed as an expert on capital markets, insurance, and housing finance.
I know Baker filed some papers under the new Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007. But, what about the one year cooling-off part?
MEMBERS AND OFFICERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES- (i) Any person who is a Member of the House of Representatives or an elected officer of the House of Representatives and who, within 1 year after that person leaves office, knowingly makes, with the intent to influence, any communication to or appearance before any of the persons described in clause (ii) or (iii), on behalf of any other person (except the United States) in connection with any matter on which such former Member of Congress or elected officer seeks action by a Member, officer, or employee of either House of Congress, in his or her official capacity, shall be punished as provided in section 216 of this title.

`(ii) The persons referred to in clause (i) with respect to appearances or communications by a former Member of the House of Representatives are any Member, officer, or employee of either House of Congress and any employee of any other legislative office of the Congress.
If he takes the job, whom would Baker lobby if not a “Member, officer, or employee of either House of Congress and any employee of any other legislative office of the Congress?”

Although former lawmakers cannot lobby members of Congress or their staff, they can lobby executive branch officials and direct a firm's congressional lobbying efforts.

"It's a completely ineffectual restriction on the revolving door," said Craig Holman of the left-leaning watchdog group Public Citizen, which found that 18 members of Congress who left office in 2004 had lobbying jobs by July 2005.
That commentary was given before the final passage, though I believe it applies.

Baker is also Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment, which holds jurisdiction over the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wetlands projects.

Yey, hedge funds.

1 comment:

Prof Z said...

Ai ai ai. Thanks for watching this.