The headline of the press release could have read, “Don’t Mess With Barney,” instead of the more sedate “Statement of Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank.”
What got the power ful committee chairman riled up, as explained in an article by Sarah Lynch of Dow Jones Newswires, was the faster-than-usual ‘revolving door’ move of one of the committee’s staffers.
Peter Roberson, the staffer, “played a key role in drafting the derivatives part of the financial (regulatory reform) bill, which would move some products onto clearing and trading platforms, including those operated” by IntercontinentalExchange Inc., or ICE, Lynch reported. The House has passed its version of the bill, and we now await Senate action.
In January, Roberson told Frank he was talking to ICE about a job there. He was hired by ICE in February as vice president of government relations.
“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.
It is a tough situation. One would prefer the lure of the private sector didn’t follow so closely on the heels of crafting an important law with big consequences for companies in that sector.
Rep. Frank is doing what he can to show his displeasure. Roberson was relieved of his duties once he announced the ICE talks. As an ICE employee presumably tasked with dealing with official Washington, Roberson’s inability to interact with the Financial Services Committee staff will extend beyond the typical one-year ban.
Frank wrote he intends “to prohibit any contact between him and members of the staff for as long as I have any control over the matter.”