K Street Files: Banking Backlash

Posted March 16, 2010 at 6:10pm

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is ginning up support among its big-business members to lobby against several measures in Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Chairman Chris Dodd’s (D-Conn.) recently introduced financial regulatory reform bill.

[IMGCAP(1)]The chamber is at odds with Dodd over several issues, including how consumer protection should be handled. David Hirschmann, head of the chamber’s Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness, said Dodd’s bill gives handouts to trial lawyers and unions with provisions that would impose limits on arbitration and give unions more leverage in negotiations with companies.

“This bill will not fix regulation or create certainty,” Hirschmann said. “We believe this can be done, but only if done on a bipartisan basis.”

So far, none of Dodd’s Republican colleagues has signed on to the bill. And the retiring Senator is facing an uphill battle to win the support of his fellow Democrats.

Hirschmann said the chamber will “intensify” its grass-roots effort, which has generated more than 170,000 letters on consumer protection. Additionally, the chamber is going to expand its outreach directly to lawmakers.

State Secrets. The Sunlight Foundation and more than two dozen other transparency-in-government groups are rallying behind a new proposal that would force the federal government to publish all nonclassified, public information online.

Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) unveiled his Public Online Information Act on Tuesday. Sunlight Executive Director Ellen Miller and Personal Democracy Forum founder Andrew Rasiej were among those who cheered the proposal. Miller, in a statement, said the bill “embraces a new formula for transparency: public equals online.”

POIA would put online such documents as annual pension plan filings and reports on lobbying activities by government contractors made in connection with winning a grant. It also would make available online personal financial disclosures of high-level government officials and reports showing when any travel by executive branch officials is paid for by third parties.

“Right now, our government will stamp something ‘public’ and lock it away in a warehouse in Maryland,” Israel said in a statement. “People across the country — from scholars to school children — should be able to see any public government information from the convenience of their computer.”

Résumé Ready? Calling all senior K Streeters in the market for a new gig: There are a handful of plum trade groups in the midst of searches to find a new chief. The Beer Institute, Credit Union National Association, Motion Picture Association of America, American Council of Life Insurers and Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Researchers of America all have vacancies at the top.

The groups are still looking to whittle down the list of potential hires, according to headhunters and spokespeople at the groups. CUNA’s Pat Keefe said that the credit union’s “CEO search is under way” and that a search committee of board members has been established.

K Street Moves. McKenna Long & Aldridge has scored career foreign service officer Colin Robertson. Robertson, former minister and head of the Advocacy Secretariat at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C., will be a senior strategic adviser and independent consultant with the firm.

• The Glover Park Group has added Jason Rosenberg, formerly a senior economic policy adviser to Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), as a vice president in its government affairs practice. Rosenberg previously served as a senior legislative assistant for Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.).

Matthew Murray contributed to this report.

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