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Barney Frank takes eye-popping step of permanently shunning ex-staffer

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) is well known as a man of opinions, barbs and temper. But this statement just released from his Financial Services Committee, which he chairs, is exceptional in its vitriol.

It amounts to a shunning of former committee staffer Peter Roberson for taking a job in the private sector that Frank does not approve of with InterncontinentalExchange. I'll just print Frank's statement in its entirety:

“Several people have expressed criticism of the move by Peter Roberson from the staff of the Financial Services Committee to ICE, after he worked on the legislation relevant to derivatives. I completely agree with that criticism. When Mr. Roberson was hired, it never occurred to me that he would jump so quickly from the Committee staff to an industry that was being affected by the Committee’s legislation. When he called me to tell me that he was in conversations with them, I told him that I was disappointed and that I insisted that he take no further action as a member of the Committee staff. I then called the Staff Director and instructed her to remove him from the payroll and provide him only such compensation as is already owed.

Stories about this correctly noted that there is a one year ban on his interaction with members of the Committee staff, but I do not think that is adequate. I am therefore instructing the staff of the Financial Services Committee to have no contact whatsoever with Mr. Roberson on any matters involving financial regulation for as long as I am in charge of that Committee staff. Fortunately, examples of staff members doing what Mr. Roberson has done are rare, but even one example is far too much and that is why I wanted to make clear I share the unhappiness of people at this, and my intention to prohibit any contact between him and members of the staff for as long as I have any control over the matter.”

My emphasis added.

Follow me on Twitter at @theticker.

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 1, 2010; 3:45 PM ET
Categories:  Congress , The Ticker  | Tags: Barney Frank, House Financial Services, Peter Robertson, derivatives  
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Looks like one of Barney's boy toys dissapointed him!

Posted by: Jimbo77 | April 1, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

The point is being missed in this case. Barney Frank does not want people on his staff selling their influence. His restriction on contact with his ex staffer are not a personal issue. The issue is making it clear that this ex staffer is not going to have any special influence or access to future deliberations of the committee. I don't see anything particularly wrong with either the staffer's or Frank's action. It is really not much different than what would happen in a private corporation when a key employee took a job with a competitor.

Posted by: dnjake | April 1, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Wow JImbo yu ar so smartz thaty I caant evn undrtard yu.

Posted by: RogerRamjet2 | April 1, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Good job, Congressman Frank. That's the way to set an example that the rest of the staff may pay attention to.

Posted by: pundito | April 1, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Shun? When your office accountant gets a job with your competitor, do you let him continue to meddle around in your finances or go to meetings where your trade secrets are being discussed?

Posted by: HookedOnThePost | April 1, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

@dnjake, I don't think the issue is future lobbying. This ban is punishment for the staffer negotiating for employment with a company he was, at the same time, being paid by the committee to regulate. The committee needs its staff to be impartial, not working for industry and possibly obstructing the work of the committee.

Posted by: pundito | April 1, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Oh, but Barney can play footsie with the credit card companies and banks who got him to delay the effective date of the recent credit card legislation long enough for them to stick it to every card holder out there. Term limits now.

Posted by: wrigleywrat | April 1, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

This isn't "shunning" based on motives of dislike, this is good policy that all reps should practice!

Posted by: fluxgirl | April 1, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

"This isn't "shunning" based on motives of dislike, this is good policy that all reps should practice!"

So if you ever work for government, you are prohibited from every lobbying again? Please.

Posted by: dcd1 | April 1, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

This is an honorable approach and it shoul dapply to all members of congress; you can not lobby congress after your terms ends, in any matter for 2+ years. No more greasing the wheels.

Posted by: cadam72 | April 1, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

I would consider Barney Frank shunning me as a badge of honor. Bring it on, warthog...

Posted by: hill_marty | April 1, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

It's good to know that there is still at least one honorable man left on the Hill...

Posted by: jerkhoff | April 1, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

I probably wouldn't want the chairman of the financial services committee as an enemy. I also probably wouldn't want to employ an enemy of the chairman of the financial services committee if I had a company that was in the financial business.

Posted by: ThomasFiore | April 1, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Exactly right words and tone.

Posted by: rlj1 | April 1, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

piggies with money to burn...

Posted by: Geopolitics101 | April 1, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

what? barney got his panties all in a bunch?

he can't even run a gay brothel correctly much less the committee

Posted by: californicationdude | April 1, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Gee, a case of ETHICS fell off the turnip truck and hit Barney in the privates. I wonder if this will cause him to stop taking "contributions" from the industry people HE REGULATES? Also, by what authority does he "shun" anyone? His Puritan ethic? After he gets thru reading the 2900 page healthcare socialization and rationing bill, maybe he'll read the multi-million page Congressional record and Constitution.

Posted by: Fiftycaltx1 | April 1, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Mr.Frank had no trouble letting his roommate conduct a gay sexual operation out of his house and this office in congress. Boy has he gotten tough these days.
NP better watch out or he will freeze her salary.

Posted by: fd09102 | April 1, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Fast action Mr. Frank. Why didn't you react as quickly when the banks were loaning mortgage money to people who could not afford houses? Or exercise your regulatory powers concerning bad Wall Street practices?

Posted by: bobbo2 | April 1, 2010 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Barney Frank is as responsible for the economic collapse, through "give anybody a house who wants one" economic policies, that the country shoud shun him.

Posted by: jhr1 | April 1, 2010 9:46 PM | Report abuse

One thing is making erroneous decisions in good faith, and another is allowing corruption to exist. Mr. Frank is culpable of the first but not of the second. Those of you castigating Mr. Frank for his good message because you don't agree with some of his policies are just simply morons; perhaps belonging to the "Moral Majority" or the Tea Party?

Posted by: hock1 | April 2, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

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