Mark Patterson, Tim Geithner’s new chief of staff and a former Goldman Sachs lobbyist, appears to have been lobbying the Fed – Geithner was president of the New York Fed – shortly after Bear Stearns collapsed last spring.
According to a 2008 lobbying disclosure filing, Patterson – along with Ann Costello and Faryar Shirzad – lobbied the House, Senate, and Fed on the following issues and acts in the second quarter of 2008:
H.R. 3221, Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008, all sections; credit default swaps clearing; covered bonds; bond market liquidity; credit rating agencies; sovereign wealth funds; general economic conditions; P.L. 110-227, Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans Act of 2008; H.R. 5914, Student Loan Access Act of 2008, all sections; active financing; investment banking issues; over-the-counter derivatives; S. 1356, Industrial Bank Holding Company Act of 2007, all sections;
Patterson left Goldman Sachs early in the quarter, so it’s unclear how involved he was in this particular lobbying effort. But this is quite the catalogue of big bad Wall Street issues, everything from credit default swaps to sovereign wealth funds to over-the-counter derivatives.
Geithner’s new restrictions on lobbying certainly look less-than-convincing once you consider the kind of company he likes to keep, as exemplified by the Patterson pick.
Though we’ve tried to make sense of Senate lobbying filings on LittleSis – there is lots and lots of lobbying data on this site – the filings don’t do nearly as much as they should to bring transparency to lobbying efforts.
There are a bunch of problems: lobbyists and lobbying clients do not have unique ids, the xml is a mess of inaccuracies (oftentimes listing lobbyists who do not even appear in the actual fiing), the disclosure requirements allow for vague reporting (who were they lobbying at the Fed?), and so on. The Obama transparency crew has their work cut out for them in this area.
So when it comes to Patterson, Goldman, Geithner, and the Fed, there are plenty of questions left unanswered by the data. That’s where journalists come in.
But: really, Geithner? Really?