Good for You, Barney

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

25 responses to “Good for You, Barney

  1. One guy for one year. It’s a start.

  2. I should say: one guy for one year for one party for one committee.

  3. “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.”

    Oh my God!! What in heaven’s name are you thinking about? You’re worse than General Betrayus and the 30,000 bursars that were surged to “Eyerak” to pay-off the Sunni insurrectionists!

    A hint, son: You don’t reward people that would be prepared to peddle influence AT ALL. And you most certainly don’t bribe them to stay away! Frank, probably the biggest pile of sewage American political life has ever produced, is simply grandstanding, that’s not obvious to you? Oh yeah, that’s right, you thought Teddy Kennedy was the cat’s touchus too, didn’t you.

  4. I don’t understand this lobbying business at all but wonder nevertheless if they block the official canals what do they do about social get togethers?
    Must this blocked lobbyist get a guest list before he accepts any invitation to make sure that none of his no-nos is on it?

  5. I think putting a stop in the revolving door is a good thing.

    I’m surprised Barney has the power to do so unilaterally, though. What sort of enforcement power does he have?

  6. Still better than nothing.

  7. Window dressing.

    I don’t see why I should trust Barney Frank to do the right thing any more than I trusted G.W. Bush.

  8. Yeah, doesn’t character EVER matter? We all know about Teddy and Chappaquiddick, but I was surprised to learn recently (althought I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised) that that weenie was kicked out of Harvard for a year for cheating. Unbelievable this is the crap running our country. I’m no saint but I’ve never killed anyone and I never cheated in college (high school, maybe, but college is a different ball game).

    Barnie Frank says some intelligent things once in a while, which is better than most in Congress, but he’s still in the pocket of big finance. He definitely is grandstanding here, but I suppose what he did is a good thing and it should be praised.

    James – Please be careful. I think you’re starting to get a little too blindly partisan.

  9. Genesis 17:7
    “And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.”

  10. Barney Frank is a clueless windbag politician and as much to blame as anyone for the current mess. He was the moving legislative genius behind the conversion to dust of Fanny and Freddy, witless in the Graham caper to prevent derivative regulation, totally taken in by the Paulson Bernanke Goldman Congressional blank check to save Goldman by pretending to finance the purchase (and revision) of residential mortgages which immediately upon passage was converted to a gift to the top tier banks to finance new productive lending which has yet to materialize (and for which we will wait until many of us are long dead), and his contribution to Paulson’s three paragraph bill was one hundred pages of nonsense intended to permit his historically disadvantaged cronies in five thousand dollar suits to cash in on the agency business which of course never materialized because the mortgages were just a smoke screen to begin with.

    If you want to write something serious about the current financial quagmire, how about dealing with the sixty trillion in synthetic derivative bets which have yet to be mentioned by anyone anywhere unless I have somehow missed it. Who continues to have exposure on these, and is the balance sheet of any Fortune 500 corporation trustworthy?

  11. Wow, for such a well-written blog, this place sure does attract its share of mindless comment.

    “Frank, probably the biggest pile of sewage American political life has ever produced,…”

    Congressional seats have been occupied by criminals, page molesters who before being caught have declared that whoever it is that molested those pages should be drummed out of Congress, people who take bribes, people who solicit bribes, people who grab divorces while their wives lie in a hospital cancer ward, people who adulterously enjoy the services of their girlfriend in a car while their child is nearby (oh, sorry, same former House Speaker).

    Barney Frank simply runs rings around the rubes that much of the rest of the country sends to Congress. That may inspire a need in some to call him sewage, but that says more about the name-caller than about Frank.

    Silke,

    Lobbying is a (poorly) regulated profession. Banning somebody from lobbying particular individuals is a fairly specific act. No office visits. No letters/e-mails/faxes signed by the banned individual. I don’t know the details, but they do. Recent press articles report that influence peddlers are adjusting their tactics as things change in Washington, and that recently some firms are making the decision to leave some influence peddlers unregistered.

  12. Lavrenti Beria

    kharris,

    “Barney Frank simply runs rings around the rubes that much of the rest of the country sends to Congress. That may inspire a need in some to call him sewage, but that says more about the name-caller than about Frank.”

    It isn’t Frank’s running “rings around the rubes that much of the rest of the country sends to Congress”, that inspires the need to call him sewage, little fella, its the self same thing you so paralysingly stupidly sought to contrast him with in this little vignette:

    “Congressional seats have been occupied by criminals, page molesters who before being caught have declared that whoever it is that molested those pages should be drummed out of Congress, people who take bribes, people who solicit bribes, people who grab divorces while their wives lie in a hospital cancer ward, people who adulterously enjoy the services of their girlfriend in a car while their child is nearby (oh, sorry, same former House Speaker).”

    And while we were out there deciphering what we might learn about name-callers, might that be that that’s Steve Gobbie who just tapped his foot in the stall to your immediate right? I mean, I wouldn’t think of allowing a little name calling to distract you from authentic content.

  13. I don’t need to pile more on Barney about his ineffectiveness because what’s already been posted is very good, but I will say that this act is grandstanding and is too little too late.

  14. You know what’s better than nothing? Anything.

  15. James, when you post about politics, it brings out the worst in your blog audience.

    Barney Frank is a witty, effective politician. Unfortunately, he is also a consistent and key advocate for irresponsible lending and other measures that artificially inflate home prices. Will the damage he does decrease perceptibly just because one lobbyist is shot out? I doubt it.

  16. Edit: “shot out” should be “shut out”

  17. I agree completely that regulators should be paid commensurately with their responsibilities, and that means a good, comfortable, upper middle class pay package for senior regulators.

    Considering the price of housing in the areas these key regulators have to live (caused by their encouragement and support for loose home lending and the many subsidies for homeownership), that means 7-figure incomes for the top echelon, I think.

  18. Frank’s a liberal Democrat. So he acts like one, and that would include looking kindly on programs that help lower income folks. Get over it.

    He’s going to shepherd real banking reform through the House this year. And based upon the interviews he’s given, I don’t see him as someone intimidated by Wall Street.

    He’s not anyone’s favorite Congressman. But he doesn’t suffer fools gladly, including the media.

  19. I am the Yakkis coalition to reelect his eminence Barney Frank, and I approve your message PatR.

  20. If by “real banking reform”, you mean “reform we can believe in”, and “hope”, and “change”, then he will be our hero.

  21. kharris,

    While I am not a proponent of name calling, I have to come down on the side of Chase and Beria minus the ad hominems. I refer you to a really silly piece of journalism written by Sally Quinn for the Washington Post.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/clinton/stories/frank121898.htm

    (Quinn is no right winger—she is married to the famous Washington Post editor, Ben Bradlee of Watergate fame.) Scroll down to the section entitled “Out and About.” The paragraph that concerns me reads: He [Frank] recently broke up with Herb Moses, whom he referred to as his “lover,” after a relationship of more than 10 years. The two are still friends.

    Before you come to Frank’s defense and assume I am a homophobe, you should understand that the sexual preference of these men is NOT the issue here. Herb Moses was an executive at Fannie Mae, Assistant Director of Product Initiatives, and his job description included creating those sticky little wickets we have come to call MBS’s and REMIC’s.

    I agree with you that lobbying is poorly regulated, but I think reasonable minds might agree that Moses may have taken the profession (lobbying) to new lows. Frank evidently had a serious relationship with the executive of a GSE Frank was supposed to be regulating. During the period coinciding with their relationship, Frank voted against stricter regs. Sorry but Frank belongs in your itemized list of ne’er do wells.

  22. kharris,
    Not ALL the comments can be winners huh?? But we sure are happy you’re here to bestow your expansive knowledge and deeper understanding to us.

  23. Oh, for God’s sake, Jessica, live a little, engage in some poisonous name calling. :-)

  24. James, come on now, you have got to be kidding! This was all show…surely the preprogrammed prepaid phones were distributed prior to this ridiculous show! Regardless, most politicians, especially Barney know who owns them–the privately held federal reserve and all affiliated cartel banksters–more than 30% of all political contributions come from the financial service industry and this is a stealth machine that determines policy to legalize what should be illegal.

  25. I have one question for Barney in his capacity as Chairman of the Finance Committee: if money is essentially infinite, how come 0.2% of the American population has 60% of it, and why does 90% borrow it at 29%? A followup would be what does his committee and his party plan on doing about this and when will they start.