Brown’s former Chief busted lobbying for banks

Posted on Jul 26, 2023

Sen. Sherrod Brown is well-known as an antagonist of the financial services sector, including banks. So we couldn’t help but notice this news via Politico… it seems that Brown’s Senate office might be moonlighting as an assembly line producer of bank lobbyists:

Senate Banking Chair Sherrod Brown’s (D-Ohio) former chief of staff was among those lobbying on his bank executive clawback bill, Daniel reports.

— Jay Heimbach, who was Brown’s top aide until 2009 and is now a consultant at Tiber Creek Group, lobbied the Senate and House on issues including that clawback bill, the RECOUP Act of 2023, on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness, which paid the firm $60,000 last quarter, according to disclosures. The Commercial Real Estate Finance Council paid the firm $50,000 to monitor the bill last quarter as well, along with Deutsche Bank, which paid Tiber Creek $60,000 — though Heimbach didn’t work on that account.

— Earlier this year, Brown and Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) introduced the RECOUP Act, which would claw back bank executives’ pay when their banks fail. The bill advanced out of the Senate Banking Committee on a bipartisan 21-2 vote in June.

— The bill’s clawback provision is less stringent than in a similar bill introduced in March by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Mike Braun (R-Ind.), which has added a number of other bipartisan co-sponsors since then. That bill would require regulators to claw back some or all of the pay that failed bank execs had received in the three years prior to a bank failure, while the Brown and Scott bill makes those clawbacks only an option for regulators and only for two years of earnings.

— The RECOUP Act included other requirements for banks beyond the Warren bill, including stricter penalties on failed bank executives and more authority for regulators to remove and ban them from continuing to work in the financial industry. Brown’s office told PI that Heimbach and Tiber Creek never lobbied Brown or his staff on behalf of any of their clients about the RECOUP Act.

Ah yes, the old “never lobbied us” line… usually, it turns out that when you’re as close to someone as a former Chief of Staff usually is to a Senator, you don’t have to actually lobby that person to get them to play ball on whatever you’re working on.

We’ll continue to track any revolving door activity out of Brown’s office.