Last week Sen. Tim Johnson, the incoming chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, hired Dwight Fettig, a lobbyist with numerous financial sector clients, as a “senior adviser” and it is rumored that he will become the committee’s staff director. Fettig, who is a partner at Porterfield, Lowenthal & Fettig, previously worked for Johnson as a legislative director from 1996-2003.
Fettig’s most recent clients include financial heavy hitters such as the American Bankers Association, JPMorgan Chase and the National Association of Mortgage Bankers.
Prior to joining up with Porterfield and Lowenthal, both of whom are former Senate Banking Committee staffers turned lobbyists, Fettig was the chief lobbyist for Freddie Mac.
It is no surprise that Sen. Johnson would hire a financial industry lobbyist to head the Banking Committee. Johnson has long been one of the most friendly Democrats to the financial industry. This largely stems from his home state of South Dakota being the home of the credit card industry.
From 2005-2010 Johnson’s campaign and political action committees raised a combined $1,763,325 from the finance, insurance and real estate sector, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That accounted for approximately one-quarter of all contributions made to Johnson during that time.
Johnson’s political action committee, South Dakota First, which doles out money to Senate candidates, is almost entirely dependent on financial sector money. South Dakota First raised 75 percent of its contributions from the finance sector in 2009-2010, according to data collected from TransparencyData.com.
When the Senate considered a bill to reign in credit card abuses last year Johnson was the only Democrat to oppose it. In a 2009 blog post Open Congress’ Donny Shaw looked at Johnson’s voting history on credit card issues.
While Fettig is rejoining Johnson in the Senate another former Johnson staffer will remain in the private sector as a lobbyist. Naomi Camper left Johnson’s office in 2005 to become co-head of Federal Government Relations at JPMorgan Chase, one the biggest banks in the United States.