September 16, 2009 / 9:09 PM / in 10 years

US Rep Frank bars Goldman Sachs lobbyist-aide

WASHINGTON, Sept 16 (Reuters) - A top lobbyist for Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs (GS.N) has been barred from communicating with members and staff of the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee, an aide to the panel’s chairman said on Wednesday.

Democratic Representative Barney Frank has banished Goldman’s Michael Paese, a former committee staffer, from dealing with the panel while it considers a long list of financial reform proposals, some directly impacting Goldman.

“Mr. Paese left our offices in September 2008, and was not allowed to communicate with any committee members or staff for a period of one year due to normal ethics restrictions that apply to all House and Senate employees,” said Frank aide Steven Adamske in a statement.

“Out of an abundance of caution due to the nature of financial regulation reform, the chairman has extended Mr. Paese’s recusal for another year,” Adamske said.

Frank’s committee is dealing with a heavy load of proposed legislation put forward by the Obama administration to tighten regulation of banks and capital markets following the worst financial crisis in generations.

In an example of the Washington-Wall Street revolving door culture, Paese was the committee’s deputy staff director before he quit to work for the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association as a lobbyist. Goldman hired him in April.

Paese could not immediately be reached for comment at Goldman’s Washington, D.C., office. A spokesman for the firm in New York also could not immediately be reached.

Finance, insurance and real estate firms spend more money lobbying officials in Washington than any other sector of the U.S. economy, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan campaign finance and lobbying watchdog group.

Within that sector, Goldman is a powerhouse. Since 1989 its employees, their family members and political action committees have donated $31.2 million to U.S. political candidates — topping all other banks and financial firms, the center said. (Additional reporting by Steve Eder in New York; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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