In Broad Daylight: Lobbyists, Financial Advisers


Two years ago, I was named Time’s person of the year and now I own an insurance company, two mortgage brokers, and I’ll soon own nearly $1 trillion worth of stock. I am so proud of me.

Luckily for me, financial services lobbyists are summoning the economic advisers of both presidential campaigns to help them draft policy positions on how to deal with my newly acquired assets and any future purchases.

It is the “dirty little secret in town,” said one financial-services lobbyist — that after lambasting lobbyists on the stump, the candidates need their counsel on how to respond to a crisis with origins too complicated for most industry outsiders to understand.

This week, two of the biggest financial groups in Washington, the Financial Services Roundtable and the Mortgage Bankers Association, have drawn in members from across the country to grill economic advisers from both campaigns, develop policy positions and urge prudence as both parties struggle to craft a regulatory stance on the deepening crisis.

Does this mean that Phil Gramm will be sitting across from himself?

The Legal Times blog reports that the Justice Department will release a number of documents and audio recordings related to the trial of Sen. Ted Stevens. One of those audio recordings of Stevens reveals him to be incredibly cheap. “Ted gets hysterical when he has to spend his own money,” says Alaska restaurateur Robert Persons to VECO chief Bill Allen. Stevens won one battle, to obtain Allen’s medical records. Allen is the government’s primary witness and has a history of mental health problems related to a motorcycle accident. We called Sarasota Motorcycle Accident Lawyers | Buckman & Buckman for help.

The Ethics Committee is pushing ahead with an inquiry into Rep. Charles Rangel’s financial disclosure snafus. Consensus has yet to take place as Ethics interim Chairman Gene Green and Ranking Member Doc Hastings released dueling letters on the form of the investigative subcommittee.

I think that someone already did this. He’s totally never on TV, so I can’t remember his name.

As I’ve already written about here, the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac PACs are now shuttered, ending an era of boundless campaign contributions used to keep lawmakers out of their business. Thanks to those campaign contributions and the subsequent lack of oversight, I now own these two mortgage giants.

Which leads directly to a Quote of the Day, from Eric Brown’s Political Activity Law Blog:

We’ll have “public funding” before we know it, given all of these government bailouts of companies with PACs… AIG, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae…

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  • Dem02020,

    Sorry about your difficulty in reading Ellen’s posts in full. We’re aware of the problem and are working on a solution. Hopefully, this problem won’t persist for much longer.

    Thanks for the comment,


  • Dem02020

    I’d like to ask a question of Sunlight here, in lieu of sending you an e-mail. Maybe someone will see it, and maybe know what the problem is.

    I can’t read any of Ellen Miller’s Blog posts. I want to, but when I click the link to read more than just the first paragraph that appears on the Homepage, I get simply the heading to Ms. Miller’s Blog post (her picture and by line), and nothing but a blank field beneath it… sometimes (like under the “Happy One Web Day” post) there appears this:

    I visit this site regularly to read the posts, and have always been able to read completely Paul Blumenthal’s articles, but have never been able to read anything more than what appears on the Homepage, for Ellen Miller’s articles.

    And I take the time to write out my problem here, because I can’t understand how it can have anything to do with me: neither me or my computer is error-prone in these kinds of things, and the particular problem I just described, is unique for me to the Sunlight website alone… if it’s just me, then please don’t waste any of your time wondering about it. But maybe it’s you guys, and not me, I can’t really know.

    This thing is the only clue I can provide:

    …as though some error or failure prevents the HTML page from displaying Ellen Miller’s column (and her’s alone).

    Anyway, thanks for the good work you all do at Sunlight. And as for my problem, if it’s just me then I’ll suffer it I guess (it being so peculiar and unique, I wouldn’t know where to start trying to troubleshoot it). I finally wrote this out after all this time, because I really wanted to read Ms. Miller’s “You Can Markup the Bills on the Mortgage Industry Bail Out” column in it’s entirety.

    Thanks again.

  • John K., Illinois

    The vast majority of the $700 billion bill should be paid for by the crooks who swindled the rest of us- the CEOs, politicians, financiers, et. al. who are behind this Ponzi scheme.

  • Dem02020

    In the final few months of the Bush administration, we’re about to have what must be the single largest transference of money from the U.S. Treasury to the private sector, than has ever happened in U.S. history… than has ever happened in the world!

    Has any government ever considered transferring $700 billion (possibly a trillion dollars) of public money to the private sector?

    No war or social program has ever cost this much, not in the history of the world… and yet in what is relative suddeness, the Bush administration is presenting a full-court press against Congress and the American People, to do just that, and transfer a truly mind-boggling sum of money to the private sector.

    There are two questions of enormous importance to consider here: one, to whom is this extraordinary amount of money going to, and two, what expense or loss is this money supposed to be covering?

    And what the answer to the first question seems to be, is NOT to me and you!

    We the American People are NOT the beneficiary of this extraordinary sum of money being drawn from the U.S. Treasury… it is by all accounts going to private companies (financial services and investment companies and banks, all privately-owned and operated), and NOT to the population at large, or to any significant fraction of it… WALL STREET is where this money is going, to put it in a single term: WALL STREET!

    And the other question’s answer, about why this money is going there, and exactly what losses are being covered by this extraordinary world-record-breaking amount of public money that is being siphoned off to the private sector?

    There is a widespread rumor (and who is spreading this rumor?) that all of this money is covering “bad home loans”…

    Are you kidding me?

    Does someone expect us to believe there are nearly a trillion dollars of non-performing mortgages as the exclusive reason behind these extraordinary losses of these financial service companies and investment funds and banks even?


    We need to talk about this!

    This needs to be an intense subject of public debate!

    We’re in no mad rush here… it’s not like a house is on fire, or a ship is sinking… we can be cautious, and take time, in making this step… a trillion dollars being siphoned out of the U.S. Treasury, in the name of WALL STREET?

    We need to look at the books of these companies… we need to know exactly what it is they’ve lost so much money on… I don’t believe for a minute, that it’s all or even mostly “bad home loans”

    STOP THE MADNESS, and take time to think: this looks like maybe the greatest looting of any public treasury in the world!

    Let’s look closely at the losses of these companies… let’s look at the books.

    And the not so funny thing is, that whatever true “bad home loans” there are in these losses that this public money is supposed to cover, the unfunny truth is that that money isn’t going to those homeowners, and isn’t going to save their homes… they already lost their homes, and none of this money goes to them!

  • Andrew

    Congrats on the recent acquisitions! You may want to watch that whole debt to equity ratio – word on the street (both wall and main) is that’ll catch up to you one day. Might I also be so bold as to suggest that you fire the top 10% of your recently acquired employees?