With the waves of criticism that come out of this website, I wanted to acknowledge someone for doing the right thing. Bloomberg reports that Barney Frank, chair of the House Financial Services Committee, barred Michael Paese, a former committee staff member and now Goldman Sachs lobbyist, from lobbying anyone on the Democratic side of the committee until the end of 2010. Paese was already barred from lobbying his old committee for one year after he left the staff in September 2008, so Frank is effectively extending the ban for another year and a bit.
The government-lobbyist revolving door has been around for a long time, and a one-year prohibition is just not long enough; it shifts the incentives too far to the side of using government service as a way to build friendly contacts in industry. Conceptually, I think the ban should be longer and pay for government employees should go up, in order to push the incentives the other way. But I’m not holding my breath.
By James Kwak