April 10, 2009


Financial firms seeking big bucks and favorable terms from Congress and the White House are deploying Capitol Hill aides turned lobbyists to win favorable treatment from the congressional lawmakers who are managing various aspects of the financial recovery—overseeing or appropriating nearly $3 trillion in spending and lending. And some lawmakers—including Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), the chairman of the Senate banking committee—have declined to disclose whether they have had contact with former aides now lobbying for the financial sector. . . .

Ex-staffers for at least 10 members of the Senate finance committee—including the committee’s chairman, Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), and senior Republican member Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa)—have lobbied lawmakers on behalf of big financial firms receiving billions of dollars of government assistance. And at least five members of the Senate banking committee have former aides lobbying Congress on financial matters. These include Dodd and ranking Republican Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama.

Several leading lawmakers with ex-aides lobbying for bailed-out financial titans were not eager to discuss contacts between their offices or committees and those lobbyists. The offices of both Dodd and Shelby refused to respond to requests for information about any interactions with former staffers now on the payroll of financial firms. (Ditto for Dodd’s banking committee.)

Well, that’s kind of a tipoff in itself, isn’t it?

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