Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Frank rebukes House staffer for taking lobbying job

By Jennifer Liberto, senior writer

WASHINGTON (CNNMoney.com) -- House Financial Services chief Barney Frank publicly denounced a House Financial Services Committee staffer for leaving to become a lobbyist.

Peter Roberson played a key role in writing House financial overhaul legislation and will now lobby on behalf of a company that the legislation directly impacts. His new employer, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), owns the largest clearinghouse of complex financial products, otherwise known as credit default swaps.

"When Mr. Roberson was hired, it never occurred to me that he would jump so quickly from the committee staff to an industry that was being affected by the committee's legislation," Frank said in a statement.

Intercontinental had no comment other than to confirm that Roberson began working as the company's vice president of government relations in February, said spokesman Lee Underwood.

Roberson worked on the House regulatory overhaul bill, which would require trades of credit default swaps to be more transparent and traded on clearinghouses, such as the one owned by Intercontinental.

The murkiness and unregulated nature of credit default swaps contributed to a massive taxpayer bailout of American International Group (AIG, Fortune 500), which sold swaps to many Wall Street firms and banks. Exchange companies like Intercontinental eagerly await new rules requiring trades to be made on clearinghouses, and each wants to be the top go-to place for the service.

Federal law prevents Roberson from talking with House staffers on the House Financial Services panel for a year. But he's free to lobby the Senate staffers, who are in the midst of crafting similar overhaul legislation before a final Senate vote.

In Washington, it's common for congressional staffers to leave the federal government for better pay and better hours at companies that seek to influence legislation. Many lobbyists now working for banks, credit unions and derivative companies once worked for lawmakers crafting legislation.

What is unusual is Frank's public rebuke of a move.

Frank said that when he heard Roberson was in talks with the exchange firm, he removed the staffer from payroll. Frank also banned committee staff from having any contact with Roberson as long as he is the chairman of that panel. That punishment goes beyond the regular one-year ban.

"Fortunately, examples of staff members doing what Mr. Roberson has done are rare," Frank said in a statement. "But even one example is far too much and that is why I wanted to make clear I share the unhappiness of people at this."

Roberson appears to be the first in-house lobbyist for Intercontinental, which paid lobbying firms some $690,000 to lobby Congress on regulatory overhaul in 2009, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

CNN's Jessica Yellin contributed to this report. To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,719.92 -78.57 -0.44%
Nasdaq 5,108.67 -18.86 -0.37%
S&P 500 2,080.41 -9.70 -0.46%
Treasuries 2.22 -0.01 -0.31%
Data as of 5:36pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
General Electric Co 29.94 -0.42 -1.38%
Bank of America Corp... 17.43 -0.05 -0.29%
Microsoft Corp 54.35 0.42 0.78%
Pfizer Inc 32.77 -0.02 -0.06%
Apple Inc 118.30 0.49 0.42%
Data as of 4:01pm ET


Kobe has earned more than $600 million from playing and endorsements over the last 20 years, and retirement won't do much to slow his earning power. More

The Federal Reserve adopted a rule on Monday from the Dodd-Frank Act that would limit its ability to lend to banks during emergency situations. More

There's a rumor going around that Apple might replace the standard 3.5-millimeter headphone jack in the iPhone 7. It's just a rumor, but it has the aura of plausibility. Here's why. More

Hive, a startup funded by the UN, is tasked with getting more Americans engaged with the refugee crisis. More

Shoppers around the country braved the crowds to get their hands on the best Black Friday deals. More