Earlier this week, Peter Roberson, a top staffer on the House Financial Services Committee, jumped ship to lobby for Intercontinental Exchange, Inc., the owner of the largest credit-default swap house. Today, Financial Services Committee Chair Barney Frank issued a statement banning committee staff from talking to Roberson about financial regulation or financial matters until Frank is no longer chairman.
Roberson previously worked as a lobbyist for the financial services industry. From 2000 to 2006, Roberson worked for the Bond Market Association. In 2006, Roberson joined the Financial Services Committee as a senior advisor and worked as part of a team to draft rules in the financial reform bill to cover over-the-counter derivatives and credit-default swaps. Ryam Grim reported that the part of the bill that Roberson worked on “has been criticized as one of the weakest elements of the package. Since its passage, Frank has said that he would be pleased if the Senate is able to pass tighter derivatives regulation.”
Roberson is one of the worst examples of the revolving door between government and the lobbying world. Both require expertise and those with that expertise can move in and out of either world to increase their market potential. Roberson began as a financial services lobbyist, went into Congress to write rules governing financial services companies and then left Congress to help a financial services company navigate and circumvent the very rules he helped write. There are fewer more striking examples of corruption than Roberson’s spin through the revolving door.