Ten years after the financial crisis brought the U.S. economy to its knees, about 30 percent of the lawmakers and 40 percent of the senior staff who crafted Congress’ response have gone to work for or on behalf of the financial industry, according to a Washington Post analysis.
The pattern, which applies about equally to both parties, is a stark illustration of how policymakers sought to profit from the financial sector after dealing with one of the worst financial episodes in U.S. history.
Critics of the revolving door say it helps explain why Congress — even as it deployed hundreds of billions of dollars to bail out Wall Street — didn’t take tougher steps to rein it in.
“Some folks that softened Congress’ crackdown on Wall Street shortly after went to work for the companies that benefited from the softening,” said former congressman Brad Miller (D-N.C.), who served on the House Financial Services Committee and now works for a law firm that represents whistleblowers.
Former lawmakers and staffers who went to work for Wall Street say they are taking part in a long tradition of entering the private sector after playing a role in significant legislation.
In 2010, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank financial oversight law that established new rules for Wall Street, including requiring banks to hold more capital in reserve and creating a new federal agency to protect consumers.