Congressional Staffers Paid $13 million by Ex-Employers in 2009

In the continuing revolving door between industry and its government regulators, the Wall Street Journal yesterday reported on the $13 million Congressional staffers earned from their former private employers, companies they run or other side jobs in 2009.

Further, ethics rules “permit the vast majority of [Congressional] aides to have financial ties to companies that could be affected by their Congressional work, so long as those interests are disclosed on an annual basis.” Such disclosures are not available for public view, other than through filing under the Freedom of Information Act, which the Journal exercised to research its piece.

Rep. Barney Frank, told that one of his Senior Aides had earned $300,000 selling J.P. Morgan stock grants during the same period Frank headed the House Financial Services Committee as it drafted new regulations on financial-services firms including J.P. Morgan, admitted to being “‘troubled’ he didn’t know one of his senior aides had such financial ties to a Wall Street firm…,” but continued:

It was very important to me to have people who know how the industry works, and she used that knowledge to help us regulate them more effectively.

Alert Beacon readers will recall some of our earlier posts on Rep. Frank’s role in creating the very financial meltdown his new regulations seek to redress, including Bob Higgs here, here, and here, and David Theroux here.

And, let’s not forget Saturday Night Live’s original, surprisingly insightful look at the mortgage meltdown and the role Rep. Frank’s earlier regulations played in it. The skit was removed by NBC due to a lawsuit threatened by some of those portrayed, but the unedited version can be seen here.

Meanwhile, Congressional and Senate leaders continue to grow richer as their constituents remain victims of their recession, with Rep. Pelosi’s wealth growing 62% last year, and Senators including Reid showing less-spectacular but still respectable double-digit increases. And when you have perks such as a fleet of all-expenses-paid government jets at your disposal, such wealth goes even further!

Mary L. G. Theroux is Senior Vice President of the Independent Institute. Having received her A.B. in economics from Stanford University, she is Managing Director of Lightning Ventures, L.P., a San Francisco Bay Area investment firm, former Chairman of the Board of Advisors for the Salvation Army of both San Francisco and Alameda County, and Vice President of the C.S. Lewis Society of California.
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