The New York Times has a serviceable front-page roundup of the lobbying fight over debit card interchange fees, a topic we mentioned here yesterday. The Times has a couple of paragraphs devoted to the revolving-door aspect of the lobbying and legislating:
The lobbying has been intense over the last year with the card companies and banks hiring, among others, Sam Geduldig, a former adviser to Representative John A. Boehner, Republican of Ohio and the House speaker, and Regina Mahony, formerly a senior adviser to Representative Steny H. Hoyer, Democrat of Maryland, according to OpenSecrets.org, which tracks lobbyists.
Representatives of the retailers include the former Republican Senator Don Nickles of Oklahoma, and Sheryl Cohen, a former chief of staff for Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut, the Democratic senator who sponsored the financial regulation bill and is now retired.
The Times doesn't mention it, but at least one of the lawmakers who changed sides on the issue has a former aide who is a paid lobbyist on the topic. The Times article reports:
Several lawmakers who supported the debit card amendment or the broader financial regulation bill as a whole are now reversing course, as the antibank climate here softens. "I believe the Fed was given too narrow of set of rules" with which to draft the regulation, said Representative Barney Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat who sponsored Dodd-Frank in the House, which never voted separately on the debit-fee amendment. "Now there is genuine political pressure to do something. It's very much in play."
Senate lobbying disclosure records show that Mastercard was paying $50,000 a quarter to the Raben Group for "education/advocacy on interchange fees." The president of the Raben Group, and one of the lobbyists on the account, is Robert Raben, whose firm Web site biography reports that "Robert's aggressively bipartisan approach was honed during a highly respected legislative career that began on Congressman Barney Frank's (D-MA) staff...Robert served as counsel to Congressman Frank for seven years, advising Mr. Frank on issues before the Judiciary Committee and on national civil rights policy and politics."