Top financial regulators meets with industry leaders, lobbyistsBy Nancy Watzman Feb 18 2011 9:57 a.m.
Elizabeth Warren, who has been charged with setting up the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, reported more meetings with individuals outside the government in December than any other Treasury official working on implementation of the Dodd-Frank financial law.
Warren, who also played an advisory role to the bank bailout oversight committee, reported 15 such meetings with a total of 204 different individuals representing a wide range of interests, from Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America, to representatives of financial trade associations, to those from a long list of consumer groups, such as Consumer Federation of America and the Center for Responsible Lending.
These included lobbyists such as Matthew Gannon and Bill Himpler of the American Financial Services Association, who are listed as meeting with her on December 9th. Her calendar, which she posts online, shows her attending a breakfast with the association that morning.
Warren has said that the new agency, scheduled to launch officially in July, will concentrate on cracking down on abusive mortgage lending, improving credit card disclosure terms, and enforcing rules that banks give customers a chance to opt-out of overdraft fees.
Another popular topic for meetings--a half dozen--was the “Volcker Rule,” the controversial section of the Dodd-Frank law that prohibits banks from proprietary trading. These include a December 7 meeting between Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Undersecretary Jeffrey Goldstein with JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon and Peter Scher, a registered lobbyist with the company.
Most of the other meetings concerning the Volker rule were held by Mary Miller, an assistant secretary. On December 1, for example, she is listed as meeting with a dozen industry representatives, including Sullivan & Cromwell lobbyists J. Virgil Mattingly, who used to work for the Federal Reserve and Samuel R. Woodall III, formerly with the House Banking Committee. The firm represents Clearinghouse Payments Co, which also sent a lobbyist to the meeting.
Geithner is also listed as attending meetings on December 15 and 16 concerning "GSEs," or government-sponsored entities. One of those meetings included Bank of America's Moynihan and Stephen Schwarzman of Blackstone. The December 15 meeting included representatives with several liberal groups, including the Economic Policy Institute, the National Urban League, and the Center for American Progress.
The Treasury Department posts these meeting logs as part of its transparency efforts surrounding the implentation of the Dodd-Frank law, as do other financial agencies. Treasury posts meetings once a month with a one-month time lag. The meetings reported here occurred in December and were not reported until January 31. The Treasury Department website notes, "This short lag time will allow Treasury to continue to conduct business, while still providing the American people with an unprecedented amount of information about the implementation of this legislation."
(Full disclosure: Former Sunlight Labs director Clay Johnson is listed as attending a meeting on December 7, when he no longer worked at Sunlight.)
Below is a list of the meetings in a downloadable format which will be updated with more data as it becomes available.
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