Beltway Confidential

Republicans rebuff industry lobbyists, block Mel Watt nomination

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Beltway Confidential,Congress,Timothy P. Carney,Senate,Filibuster,Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Mortgage bankers, realtors, and home builders all lobbied Republican senators to approve industry-friendly, big government-friendly Congressman Mel Watt as the chief regulator for Fannie Mae. Republican leaders, however, formed a unified front against the Obama administration and the bailed-out housing industry.

The Mortgage Bankers Association, National Association of Homebuilders, and National Association of Realtors have all approved Watt's nomination.

Here's what I wrote after his nomination about Watt and the revolving door.

Hilary West was Watt's legislative counsel, and now she is a lobbyist for the largest bank in the U.S., JPMorgan Chase. The bank's lobbyist disclosure forms show her lobbying Congress, the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve this year on banking issues, including "the impact of GSE reform and other proposed changes to the housing finance market" — in other words, what to do with Fannie and Freddie. West also lobbied this year on "home mortgage loan modifications, foreclosures, servicing, and refinancing," according to the disclosure forms.

Joyce Brayboy worked for Watt for 12 years, including as his chief of staff. After Watt moved into the majority in 2007, Brayboy joined the Democrat-heavy lobbying firm Glover Park Group, where her clients included the American Bankers Association. Today, Brayboy is a lobbyist for Goldman Sachs, where she lobbies on "housing" issues, among others, according to Goldman's lobbying disclosure filings.

This is part of an inconsistent, but growing, trend of Republican leaders standing up to industry lobbyists and opposing corporate welfare.

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