Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) during a hearing before the Senate Finance Committee on September 23, 2009. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.
The Wall Street bull in New York, New York. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.
By Alex Kotch
New first quarter lobbying reports reveal that a former senior staffer of Sen. Mike Crapo, the primary sponsor of the recent banking bill that lets large banks shed some regulations, lobbied Congress about the bill on behalf of several financial institutions, including one of the banks that benefited most from the legislation.
John Anderson, a principal at Rich Feuer Anderson, was a senior policy adviser to Crapo from 2000 to 2003, according to his LinkedIn page. Crapo was a member of the Senate Banking Committee at the time and is currently chairman. Now Anderson is a lobbyist representing corporate interests before members of Congress and financial regulatory agencies. During the first quarter of 2018, Anderson and fellow principal Mitchell Feuer, who was counsel to the Senate Banking Committee for most of the 1990s, lobbied Congress on “regulatory reform and legislation that may revise certain prudential bank regulations, including S. 2155” on behalf of American Express, the 18th-largest U.S. holding company, with $181 billion in assets.
S. 2155, the “Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act,” also known as the Crapo Bill, would raise the threshold for increased regulatory scrutiny by the Federal Reserve. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform law added new regulations to banks with over $50 billion in assets—considered “systemically important,” or “too big to fail.” Under the Crapo bill, these extra regulatory requirements would apply only to banks with assets totaling more than $250 billion. Should the Crapo bill pass the House and become law, nearly 30 large banks will face fewer checks on risky financial practices, increasing the chances that more banks will fail and require bailouts, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The House received the bill on March 15, but no action has been taken.
The Crapo bill passed the Senate on March 14 with support from 16 Democrats and one independent who caucuses with the Democrats. TYT previously reported that seven of these Democrats, including Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), collectively own, along with their spouses, millions of dollars worth of stock in banks and mortgage lenders that will benefit from the legislation.
Rich Feuer Anderson also lobbied on the Crapo bill for other financial companies, including Bank of New York Mellon, which has well over $250 billion in assets but could still benefit from other regulatory rollbacks in the bill. For BlackRock Capital Management, Anderson and six other lobbyists—all of whom previously held congressional jobs—lobbied Congress on the Crapo bill and specifically on “regulation of asset managers as systemically important financial institutions.” BlackRock, Inc., the parent company of BlackRock Capital Management, owns $220 billion in assets but is not considered a bank or holding company. Jonathan Gould, who was once counsel for the Senate Banking Committee, worked as a director at BlackRock for four years and rejoined the Banking Committee in February as senior counsel.
Lobbying disclosures do not list the members of Congress with whom the lobbyists meet, but considering Anderson’s relationship with Crapo and the fact that Crapo is the primary sponsor of the bill, it’s very likely Anderson at least attempted to lobby his old boss. Both Anderson and Crapo’s office did not reply to emails seeking comment.
Anderson has a long history of lobbying for big financial corporations. In 2003, he left his government job and went on to lobby for major financial industry trade groups—the International Swaps and Derivatives Association and the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association—before becoming a managing director at Credit Suisse, a Swiss bank with a U.S. subsidiary that holds $141 billion in assets. In 2012, Anderson left the bank for his current lobbying firm. Credit Suisse USA does not employ Rich Feuer Anderson but did lobby on the Crapo bill this year.
Anderson is also a board member of the Enterprise Club of the American Enterprise Institute, a right-wing, free-market think tank that has received funding from Charles Koch and the Bradley Foundation. AEI’s board of trustees includes numerous financial executives from firms such as The Carlyle Group, The Windquest Group (the private equity firm run by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s husband), and The Baupost Group.
TYT previously reported that the Crapo bill will also ease scrutiny of discriminatory lending—and that former Banking Committee staffers had been lobbying for the bill on behalf of a bank that once had an acquisition tied up for years as a result of enforcement against discriminatory lending.