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Big Bank Brings In a Face From the Clinton Administration

Peter L. Scher is joining J.P. Morgan Chase.
Peter L. Scher is joining J.P. Morgan Chase. (Courtesy Of Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw Llp - Courtesy Of Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw Llp)
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When legislation designed to prevent a rush of home foreclosures hits the Senate floor next month, don't expect to see much lobbying by big financial institutions.

Although it likes the measure quite a bit, the Financial Services Roundtable, the lobby for 100 of the nation's largest financial services companies, has decided to root for it mostly from the sidelines.

The reason: Its support could hurt the bill's chances. President Bush has said that he would oppose any effort to "reward speculators and lenders." If gigantic banks and insurance companies advocated too noticeably for the legislation, some people might suspect that it fits the description.

"We're not putting ourselves at the front of the parade," said Roundtable President Steve Bartlett. "It would give opponents an additional argument."

No-Go for the Monthly

Merger talks between the lobby group Common Cause and the liberal magazine Washington Monthly have fallen apart.

The board of Common Cause decided this month not to fold the magazine into its organization, leaving the cash-strapped publication without a much-needed benefactor.

"Our board decided that was a path we were not going to go down," said Common Cause spokeswoman Mary Boyle. "It's a big financial undertaking, one that the board decided we were not quite ready to undertake."

The organizations -- longtime Washington institutions -- have been negotiating for months about uniting. Those discussions were first reported in this column.

Washington Monthly was eager for a financially solid partner, and Common Cause was interested in publishing a magazine for its more than 150,000 members, something it had done from 1980 to 1996.

But it was not to be. The Monthly is now looking for another partner.

"It was a good idea. I wished they said yes. We'll move on to other things," said Paul Glastris, the magazine's editor in chief. "We've got some stuff cookin'."

The Tax Man Cometh

As if ethics and lobbying laws weren't complicated enough, now the Tax Man is getting involved.

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