Barney Frank rebukes House committee staffer who became lobbyist

By Zachary A. Goldfarb
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 2, 2010; A13

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) issued a rare rebuke on Thursday to a former staffer who became a lobbyist for a major financial company with interests before the committee.

Peter Roberson joined Intercontinental Exchange as a lobbyist in February after spending nearly three years on the staff of the committee. As a staff member, he worked on financial reform legislation that would for the first time regulate the massive market for exotic financial instruments known as derivatives.

Intercontinental Exchange is a dominant player in electronic trading and could benefit from the proposed overhaul of the derivatives market. The Atlanta-based company runs clearinghouses and exchanges that could become the destination for most trading in derivatives once the legislation passes.

An individual who answered the phone listed for Peter Roberson hung up. A spokesman for the company said Roberson was unavailable for comment.

Frank on Thursday banned contact between his staffers and Roberson. "I share the unhappiness of people at this, and my intention [is] to prohibit any contact between him and members of the staff for as long as I have any control over the matter," Frank said in a statement.

Frank said he told Roberson he was disappointed when Roberson disclosed his discussions with the company. Frank said he removed him from the committee at that time.

Roberson, who previously worked for a bond association, will still be able to lobby the Senate, where lawmakers are working on derivatives legislation. The House version has already passed.

Roberson is part of a new Washington presence for Intercontinental Exchange. The company has also hired as a lobbyist Alex Albert, a former chief of staff to former senator Zell Miller (D-Ga.).

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