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February 21, 2013

Friends in Low Places: Where The Real Lobbying Happens

Obsess all you’d like about President Obama’s nomination of Mary Jo White to head the Securities and Exchange Commission. Who heads the agency is vital, but important fights in Washington are happening in quiet rooms, away from the media gaze.

After a widely praised stint as a tough United States attorney, Ms. White spent the last decade serving so many large banks and investment houses that by the time she finishes recusing herself from regulatory matters, she may be down to overseeing First Wauwatosa Securities.

Now, Ms. White maintains she can run the S.E.C., without fear or favor. But the focus shouldn’t be limited to whether she can be effective. For lobbyists, the real targets are regulators and staff members for lawmakers.

Ms. White, at least, will have to sit for congressional testimony, answer occasional questions from the media and fill out disclosure forms. Staff members, however, work in untroubled anonymity for the most part. So, while everyone knows there’s a revolving door — so naïve to even bring it up! — few realize just how fluidly it spins.”

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Read Jesse Eisinger’s full ProPublica article here

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