Fix the Debt's Lobbyists

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Learn more about Pete Peterson-funded astroturf projects at the Fix the Debt Portal.

The Campaign to Fix the Debt is the latest incarnation of a decades-long effort by former Nixon man turned Wall Street billionaire Pete Peterson to slash earned benefit programs such as Social Security and Medicare under the guise of fixing the nation's "debt problem."

As of January 2013, Fix the Debt has 80 staff members, according to Forbes.[1] According to Politico, "the lobbying has been left largely to its president, Maya MacGuineas, and its CEO members."[2] But in January 2013, Fix the Debt also hired three lobbyists: Cynthia Brown, a former chief of staff to Representative Ron Kind (D-WI) and former lobbyist for defense contractors, the pharmaceutical industry, the private prison industry, and the Koch brothers; Nathaniel Hoopes, former legislative director for ex-Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) and former lobbyist for the private equity arm of Lehman Brothers who reportedly wrote a memo to the Treasury Department trying to gut the Volcker Rule; and Elizabeth Wroe, a former health policy director and counsel to the Senate Budget Committee when Fix the Debt's Judd Gregg was the committee chair and a former lobbyist for Big Pharma at Faegre Baker Daniels.[3][4][5]

In addition, Fix the Debt created a "Congressional Fiscal Leadership Council" in February 2013, flush with more than 85 former Congressmen to push the group's message amongst their former colleagues. Members as of February 14, 2013, are listed here.

This article is part of the Center for Media and Democracy's investigation of Pete Peterson's Campaign to "Fix the Debt." Please visit our main SourceWatch page on Fix the Debt.

About Fix the Debt
The Campaign to Fix the Debt is the latest incarnation of a decades-long effort by former Nixon man turned Wall Street billionaire Pete Peterson to slash earned benefit programs such as Social Security and Medicare under the guise of fixing the nation's "debt problem." Through a special report and new interactive wiki resource, the Center for Media and Democracy -- in partnership with the Nation magazine -- exposes the funding, the leaders, the partner groups, and the phony state "chapters" of this astroturf supergroup. Learn more at PetersonPyramid.org and in the Nation magazine.


Cynthia Brown

Cindy Brown.jpg

A prime example of the "revolving door," Cynthia (Cindy) S. Brown is Representative Ron Kind (D-WI)'s former legislative director and later chief of staff[3] and, as a principal at the lobbying firm Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti, a lobbyist for such corporations and trade associations as the pharmaceutical industry trade association PhRMA,[6] private prison company Corrections Corporation of America,[7] and the Koch brothers' Koch Companies Public Sector.[8] In the late 1990s, she helped set up the New Democrat Coalition's political action committee.[9][10]

According to her Mehlman biography, when she was Rep. Kind's legislative director, Brown "drafted numerous health care policy bills and amendments, including successful changes in Medicare reimbursement policy for rural providers. When Rep. Kind was appointed to the Ways and Means Committee, Cindy served as his principle staffer on the health subcommittee."[11]

Nathaniel Hoopes

Hoopes.jpg

Nathaniel Hoopes is former Senator Scott Brown's (R-MA) former legislative director, Senator Joseph Lieberman's (I-CT) former legislative assistant,[3] and a former employee of the private equity arm of Lehman Brothers, Lehman Brothers Holdings. While working for Sen. Brown, Hoopes reportedly wrote a memo to the Treasury Department trying to gut the Volcker Rule.[12] According to the Boston Globe, "Ann Graham, a lawyer formerly with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and an advocate of strict regulation who teaches banking law at Hamline University in Minnesota, said Hoopes’s memo urges regulators to 'substantially undercut the Volcker rule' in ways that would allow banks to skirt the three percent limit on hedge fund ownership and delve into riskier investments. . . . Critics say Brown’s view could lead banks to funnel their federally insured deposits into failing hedge funds. Hoopes argues that Brown’s position reflects Congress’s intent in Dodd-Frank."[13]


Elizabeth Wroe

Elizabeth Wroe.png

Elizabeth Wroe was the health policy director of the Senate Budget Committee and counsel to former Senator Judd Gregg (a Fix the Debt leader), who was then the committee chair (2005-2010), including during the negotiations around the formation of what became the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," sometimes known as "Obamacare."[14][15] She is also a former lobbyist for the pharmaceutical industry at Faegre Baker Daniels.[16][17] Wroe started working for Sen. Gregg as a law clerk in 2004 when she was in law school.[14]

Resources and Articles

Featured SourceWatch Articles on Fix the Debt

Other Related SourceWatch Articles

External Articles

References

  1. Anne VanderMey, Fix the Debt isn't Going Anywhere, Forbes Term Sheet, January 30, 2013.
  2. Anna Palmer and Kate Brannen, The big business of the fiscal cliff, Politico, December 5, 2012.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Fix the Debt Coalition, Lobbying Registration, form filed with U.S. Congress, January 2, 2013.
  4. Dave Levinthal, Center for Public Integrity, Fix the Debt Coalition Lobbies Up, Primary Source organizational publication, January 30, 2013.
  5. Rob Galbraith, Public Accountability Initiative, Meet the Fix the Debt Lobbyists, LittleSis Blog, February 1, 2013 (date typo in article says January 1, 2013 in error).
  6. Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti, Lobbying Report, form filed with U.S. Congress on behalf of client PhRMA, July 1 - September 30, 2009.
  7. Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti, Lobbying Report, form filed with U.S. Congress on behalf of client Corrections Corporation of America, January 1 - March 31, 2010.
  8. Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti, Lobbying Report, form filed with U.S. Congress on behalf of client Koch Companies Public Sector, October 1 - December 31, 2009.
  9. Rachel Leven, TUESDAY PROFILE: Staffer-turned-star, The Hill, July 12, 2011.
  10. Center for Responsive Politics, Revolving Door Profile: Brown, Cindy S., OpenSecrets.org lobbying database, accessed February 2013.
  11. Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti, Cindy Brown Bio, lobbying firm biography, archived June 5, 2012 by the Wayback Machine.
  12. Ben Protess, Behind the Scenes, Some Lawmakers Lobby to Change the Volcker Rule, New York Times, September 20, 2012.
  13. Noah Bierman and Michael Levenson, Senator Brown sought to loosen bank rules, Boston Globe, June 4, 2012.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Stephen Langel, Hard-Working Staffer Is Steady as She Goes, Roll Call, July 6, 2009.
  15. Elizabeth Wroe, Elizabeth Wroe, LinkedIn.com online career profile, accessed February 2013.
  16. Center for Responsive Politics, Revolving Door Profile: Wroe, Elizabeth, OpenSecrets.org lobbying database, accessed February 2013.
  17. Fegre BD Consulting, Lobbying Report, form filed with U.S. Congress on behalf of client Alliance for Safe Injection Practices, October 1 - December 31, 2011.