A recently hired economic policy director for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign was a top lobbyist for JP Morgan Chase, Wall Street’s biggest bank, and federal documents show that he lobbied Congress and federal regulators this year on issues ranging from the implementation of new financial regulations to corporate tax reform.
Pierce Scranton, who became Romney’s economic policy director in August, is listed as JP Morgan’s executive director of the bank’s lobbying department on public federal documents filed in 2012. Those documents show that between January and July of this year, Scranton oversaw lobbying activities on a host of economic issues, including legislation dealing with home mortgage modifications and foreclosures, Chinese trade and currency manipulation, the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act and other financial regulations, the Jumpstart Our Small Businesses (JOBS) Act, and corporate tax reform.
Scranton, according to the documents, lobbied Congress and federal regulatory agencies on legislation regarding the “implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act.” Scranton and JP Morgan, at the time, were lobbying for a loophole in a regulation that limited risky trading; months later, the bank lost billions of dollars on risky trades that would be prohibited without such a loophole. Scranton lobbied on four pieces of legislation dealing with Dodd-Frank’s regulation of the derivatives market, according to the documents. He also met with Treasury officials in January of 2011 regarding Dodd-Frank, according to the Sunlight Foundation.
JP Morgan has been an ardent opponent of many of the rules contained in Dodd-Frank, including the regulation of the derivatives market. JP Morgan has spent nearly $10 million lobbying since the beginning of 2011, much of it aimed at Dodd-Frank and regulations it includes.
Romney pledged to repeal Dodd-Frank early in his presidential campaign. He has offered vague support for “enhanced capital requirements” and the regulation of derivatives and has said he plans to replace Dodd-Frank with a “streamlined regulatory framework,” but the only specifics he has offered are already in Dodd-Frank (which he admits in his plan).
While Scranton oversaw JP Morgan’s lobbying, the bank also lobbied against legislation meant to address Chinese trade and currency manipulation. JP Morgan and other banks and financial services companies lobbied against the bill. Romney, however, has talked openly about signing an executive order on his first day in office that would declare China a currency manipulator.
Scranton also “discussed the issue of corporate tax reform” and a special tax break for banks’ offshore profits, according to the documents. Corporate taxation has also been a prominent issue for Romney’s campaign. His tax plan cuts the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent and would institute a territorial tax system that would exempt American corporations from paying taxes on the profits they earn abroad.
The Romney campaign did not respond to ThinkProgress’ request for comment.