There are a hundred paths to power in Washington, and most don't require a presidential appointment or a certificate of election. Behind the elected members of Congress and the regulators appointed by the president with the advice and consent of the Senate, is the permanent government: the lobbyist, agency officials and committee aides who makes policy for the financial services industry, year in and year out.
They are influential because they know how to pull at least one of the levers of power in Washington. They are the lobbyists who know which Senator can insert an obscure, special interest provision into a pending bill, and the congressional aides who know how much they must compromise to assemble a majority.
American Banker looks at some of the lesser known influentials in Washington: Not the executive directors of trade associations, but the lobbyists who walk the halls of Congress looking for votes. and not the heads of agencies, but the aides who present them with policy recommendations that nine times out of ten are accepted.
Here, then, is American Banker's behind-the-scenes guide to Washington's influential.
Blum, Jack A. Attorney
Lobel, Novins, Lamont & Flug 1275 K St., N.W. Washington, D.C. 20005
Jack A. Blum did to the Bank of Credit and Commerce International what Upton Sinclair did to the meat packing industry in 1906.
Mr. Sinclair's outrage at working conditions in meat packing plants resulted in publication of The Jungle, a book that brought into view the sins of big business.
Mr. Blum has yet to write a book, but he speaks volumes on the sins of BCCI and it alleged ties to drug lords, thugs, and money launderers. In fact, Mr. Blum has been a fountain of information, and much of it has materialized on the front pages of newspapers.
"Jack is one of the toughest and most tenacious people I have ever run into. He's fearless, and he's stubborn," said Jonathan Winer, who now tracks BCCI for Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., chairman of the subcommittee on terrorism, narcotics, and international operations.
"He comes across as an intense crusader," added a Republicans staff members who has met with Mr. Blum several times to discuss BCCI.
Mr. Blum, who is 50, was graduated from Bard College and received a law degree from Columbia Law School. He has alternated between public service and private law practice. From 1987 to 1989, he worked on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as special counsel, and his investigation into BCCI intensified.
In testimony, Mr. Blum claimed that high-powered insiders in Washington had worked to protect the bank's reputation.
"There were an army of people working Washington on all sides trying to say this bank was a wonderful bank," he said. "I think the record today speaks for itself on that subject."
Britt, Steve Executive director
Federal Housing Finance Board 1777 F Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20006
Executive Director Steve Britt has transformed the Federal Housing Finance Board into a credible regulator for 12 feisty, independent Federal Home Loan Banks.
That would have been a tough task under any circumstance.
But Mr. Britt's accomplishments are all the more remarkable because the tiny, two-year-old Finance Board has had such a bumpy start in life.
Home Loan Banker earnings are way down because their traditional thrift constituency is shrinking. And four of the five Finance Board members are serving part time without Senate confirmation, pending resolution of a dispute over whether they should be full-time.
Handicaps aside, the Home Loan Banks have made strides under Mr. Britt's leasership, launching a popular affordable-housing program and recruiting 350 commercial bank members.
More change lies ahead. Mr. Britt has begun a painstaking overhaul of the Home Loan Bank's operations, setting the stage for consolidation.
"His job is made tougher by the fact that the board isn't confirmed, and by its part-time status," said a senior House Banking Committee aide. But the aide gave Mr. Britt high marks for steering the Home Loan Banks through rough seas.
Brunette, W. Kent Financial services lobbyist
American Association of Retired Persons 601 E St., N.W. Washington, D.C. 20049
Lobbyist by day, authors by night, W. Kent Brunette rises at 4 a.m. to work on his second book before navigating the halls of Capitol Hill each day.
At 37, the smooth, politic, nine-year veteran of AARP legislative wars represents the financial interests of 33 million Americans 50 or older.
His consumer agenda pits him against the heavyweight American Bankers Association on issues such as mandated government check cashing, basic banking services, and truth-in-savings disclosure provisions.
Mr. Brunette takes pride in being an even-tempered negotiator, and - true to form - he struck a compromise with the Independent Bankers Association of America last summer to get government-check-cashing legislation through the Senate Banking Committee before the recess.
A die-hard issue that comes back every year, check-cashing will be part of the banking bill this session if Mr. Brunette can make his case stick.
The Senate version, advanced in August, wiykd require banks to offer low-income consumers a choice between government-check-cashing services and low-cost accounts.
While some consumer groups feel he gave away too much in the IBAA deal, Mr. Brunette said it's better than nothing, which was the alternative. But he contended, "We cut it awful close."
Mr. Brunette's first book, "Conquer Your Debt," came out last summer. He's now working on a handbook as well as a volume on America's overreliance on credit.
Carnell, Richard Counsel
Senate Banking Committee 534 Dirksen Building Washington, D.C. 20510
Rick Carnell is the invisible hand behind the restructuring of the U.S. financial system.
A Harvard-trained lawyer who interned briefly as a private-sector litigator and Federal Reserve staff counsel, Mr. Carnell has been quietly ensconced in one of the cramped cubicles of the Senate Banking Committee's Dirksen building offices since 1987.
He arrived at the banking panel in time to play a major role in crafting the Competitive Equality Banking Act, a bill that was written almost entirely in the Senate. And he played perhaps the leading role the next year in crafting the Proxmire Financial Modernization Act, which contemplated repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933.
The Proxmire measure died ignominiously in the final days of the 100th Congress. Mr. Carnell was one of the handful of committee aides who waited through the final minutes of that congressional session, hoping against hope that, as the clock ticked past midnight, a compromise could be worked out with the House.
Although the Proxmire bill did not become law, its legislative odyssey was the kind that changed the way people thought about banking bills. With that effort, banking lobbyists concluded that Glass-Steagall repeal was inevitable -- if not this year, then next. Moreover, the bill supplied the basis for much of the Treasury's ambitious proposal to overhaul the financial services industry this year.
For all his work, Mr. Carnell is not the staffer of choice with many bank lobbyists, who regard him as uncompromising, aloof, and entirely too defensive about his old employer, the Federal Reserve Board.
But he is, as one lobbyist put it, "a lawyer's lawyer," happily at home discussing the intricacies of the Bank Holding Company Act or Glas-Steagall. And "home," for more hours than Mr. Carnell might care to count, means his office.
"It's been seven days a week until late at night since Christmas," Mr. Carnell said of the efforts this year to deal with the Treasury bill. During legislative sessins, he said, "I find that I can stabilize and work long periods of time with six hours of sleep a night, seven days a week."
While his pay lags far behind what he might make for similar effort in the private sector, Mr. Carnell said he thinks it's worthwhile. "I really believe that we are doing the right thing," he said. "We need a rational deposit insurance system to protect the taxpayer in the future."
Cole, Anthony F. Republican staff director
House Banking Committee B 301 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515
As a former Federal Reserve Board staff lawyer, Anthony F. Cole knows as well as anyone how to draft legislation. But his real value to the House GOP is his keen grasp of politics -- the mixture of ideology, geography, and personalities that shapes legislation.
In the House of Representatives, which has been dominated by Democrats for as long as anyone can remember, Republicans live by their wits. They don't control the floor or even the lowliest subcommittee; their access to staff resources is meager, compared to that of their Democratic counterparts; and if they want hearings or votes on issues important to them, they are at the mercy of Democratic committee chairmen.
Mr. Cole uses what he has.
His staff, though much smaller than that of the majority party, is regarded as one of the best on Capitol hill. And under Mr. Cole, the minority staff for the first time in years has a press secretary -- someone whose job it is to make sure reporters covering the banking bill hear the views of Rep. Chalmers P. Wylie of Ohio, the panel's senior Republican.
The 44-year-old Mr. cole, known to almost everyone as Tony, can be identified at a distance from the fragnant aroma of his pipe, which is almost always lit, or from the line of aides, lobbyists, and assorted Capitol Hill types waiting for an audience.
His office is a frequent stop for bank lobbyists, who look to Mr. Cole and his boss, Rep. Wylie, for damage control when the legislative process goes against them. It is also a routine stopping point for Treasury Department employees, who look to Mr. cole for information and tactical support.
Djinis, Peter G. Director, Office of Financial Enforcement
Department of the Treasury 15th and Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. Washington, D.C. 20220
Peter G. Djinis is the kind of person bankers love to gripe about.
Five months ago, Mr. Djinis, 39, was appointed head of the Treasury's Office of Financial Enforcement, a unit charged with finding ways to keep drug dealers from laundering money through financial institutions.
The office rankles bankers because one of its jobs is to initiate rules to make money laundering more difficult. Bankers say it is a thorn in their side because the regulations cost money to enforce and have moved them onto the frontline of the drug war.
But Mr. Djinis is adamant about the need for the rules. "Law enforcement is really hamstrung without access to the information," he said.
A graduate of Clark College, Mr. Djinis got a law degree from Catholic University in 1977. After graduation, he was counsel to the District of Columbia Superior Court. From there, he joined the Justice Department, where he was a trial attorney in the narcotics and dangerous drugs section.
Mr. Djinis took over an office that was hit by staff turnover. Employees say Mr. Djinis is putting the office back together by logging 15-hour days and adhering to a strict diet of coffee and cigarettes to keep him going.
"He's driven," said Pamela Johnson, assistant director for the Bank Secrecy Act compliance section. "It would be hard for us to find sombody who works harder than Peter."
Fulton, Kathryn Director of legislative affairs
Securities and Exchange Commission 450 5th St., N.W. Washington, D.C. 20549
Kathryn Fulton couldn't have picked a busier time to land the job as director of legislative affairs for the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Just three months after she joined the agency in May, the Treasury-auction scandal erupted at Salomon Brothers Inc. Meantime, the agency was already buried in the financial-industry reform bill.
Although she's just 30, and has been referred to as "young Kate" by SEC Chairman Richard Breeden, Ms. Fulton is already getting high marks from her colleagues. "She's cool under fire, and she's a quick study," said Peter Kiernan, legislative counsel at the SEC.
Ms. Fulton is the SEC's liaison to Capitol Hill. She must keep Mr. Breeden abreast of any legislation Congress is considering that could affect the agency and the companies it regulates. She also must keep Congress informed as to where the SEC stands on various issues.
"She has extensive experience in the legislative arena. She has an uncanny ability to get along with people," said Mitchell Delk, who was Ms. Fulton's predecessor at the SEC, and now is vice president for government and industry relations at the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp.
Ms. Fulton joined the SEC after working as vice president of government relations at Morgan Stanley & Co. Inc. She was graduated with honors from Amherst College, where she was captain of the women's field hockey team. She also participated in lacrosse and swimming.
She joined the SEC because she wanted to work where securities legislation is created, she said, adding, "It is an extremely steep learning curve. I didn't come in here thinking it would be a cakewalk."
Gadziala, Mary Ann Counselor to the chairman
Securities and Exchange Commission 450 5th St., N.W. Washington, D.C. 20549
The Bush era has been good to Mary ann Gadziala. In the 2 1/2 years since George Bush took the oath of the presidency, this government lawyer has had a strong hand in crafting some of the most sweeping financial-institutions law and regulation in half a century.
And she doesn't plan to take a breather soon.
In January, Ms. Gadziala jumped from the Treasury Department to the Securities and Exchange Commission, where she is counselor to SEC Chairman Richard Breeden. Now, she's advising him on the finer points of the banking reform bill and its impact on the securities industry.
For those who follow the development of banking law, Ms. Gadziala's move to the SEC appeared to signal the agency's increasing attention to banking issues.
Mr. Breeden had served in the Bush White house as point man on savings and loan reform, and he is believed to remain one of the handful of key advisers to the president on banking issues. Ms. Gadziala complements Mr. Breeden's expertise.
And if she has any question about banking issues, she can turn for advice to her fiance: David W. Mullins, vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.
Before coming to the SEC, she was an attorney at the Federal Reserve, then moved to the Treasury in 1983. Assistant general counsel there for banking and finance, Ms. Gadziala was in charge of drafting the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989. This sweeping reform package overhauled the savings and loan industry.
Hours after the bill was signed into law by President Bush, Ms. Gadziala began scratching out bylaws for the Resolution Trust Corp. Oversight Board. She was also appointed acting vice president and general counsel to the oversight panel.
Ms. Gadziala, 39, was graduated from the State University of New York at Albany in 1974 and received a law degree from Union University in Albany in 1978.
"I've been very lucky to be at the forefront of some of the most important financial issues of our time," she said.
Hohlt, Richard Consultant/Lobbyist
750 17th St., Room 1000 Washington, D.C 20006
FEw people are as well tapped in to the Bush administration as Richard Hohlt, a banking and government consultant who used to work Capitol hill for the U.S. League of Savings Institutions.
He's a wellhead of valuable information who is consulted frequently by the press corps, members of Congress, and top government officials like L. William Seidman and Richard Breeden.
"I hope people don't just call me for what I know but for my opinion and judgments," he said.
When an appointment is coming down from the White House or Treasury or when there's a major development at one of the banking agencies, Mr. Hohlt usually is one of the first to know about it.
Mr. Hohlt, 42, is said to be a good friend of Vice President Dan Quayle, and he's been very active in Republican presidential campaigns. When he worked at the savings league, he was a GOP fund raiser.
He's a director at the Student Loan Marketing Association, and his clients include several thrifts, a temporary employment agency, and a computer company that has products specially tailored for savings and loans.
An accountant, Mr. Hohlt worked for Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., who was then mayor of Indianapolis, helping to computerize the city's bookkeeping.
He participated in Mr. Lugar's senatorial campaigns and came with him to Washington as an aide. In 1980, he was recruited to the league by the late lobbyist, Glenn Troop.
"He said the league needed a GOP lobbyist because he felt the GOP was going to take the White House," recalled Mr. Hohlt, who left in 1990 to go into business for himself.
Mr. Hohlt is still a consultant to the league. But he said he went on his own because "I'm sort of [an] independent agent. That's my personality."
Hurley, Mark P. Director of resolutions
Office of Thrift Supervision 1700 G St., N.W. Washington, D.C. 20552
No one is more impressed with Mark Hurley than Mark Hurley. Not that he is arrogant. He's just bowled over by the fact that, having just turned 33, he is advising a man who is deciding how to spend billions of taxpayer dollars in bailing out the thrift industry.
Mr. Hurley works for tim Ryan, director of the Office of Thrift Supervision and a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance corp. and Resolution Trust Corp. boards.
Mr. Hurley, a West Point graduate, came to the OTS from the Dallas office of Goldman, Sachs & Co. He was originally hired as Mr. ryan's special assistant and has since become director of resolutions.
"One day, I got a phone call out of nowhere," he said of how he got his job. "A guy says, 'Hi. This is Tim Ryan. I'd like you to come interview to be my special assistant.'"
In addition to resolving failing thrifts, Mr. Hurley was Mr. Ryan's envoy to Rhode Island when its private deposit insurance system collapsed.
He's enjoying his transformation from investment banker to regulator but is not a complete convert. "Politics is inefficient," he said.
Jacquez, Albert S. Staff director
House Banking subcommittee on consumer affairs and coinage 604 House Annex I Washington, D.C. 20515
In 1989, Albert S. Jacquez left Capitol Hill for the private sector. As head of the Latin American Management Association, he learned how to meet a payroll, in good times and bad, and he learned something about attitudes in the business community.
Those lessons may have been the ideal training for hs current job as staff director of the House Banking committee's subcommittee on consumer affairs and coinage: They not only sensitized him to the concerns of small businesses but also imbued him with a sense of skepticism.
"I learned that the natural inclination in the business community is to preserve the status quo," he said. "they fear that any additional change is going to cost them money."
"While I understand them," he said, "I'm not always convinced that the doom and gloom we hear from them will be borne out."
Consumer affairs may be the legislative area bankers worry about most. The consumer arena is viewed as all downside risk and no opportunity for gain. From truth-in-savings to lifeline checking, when the consumer affairs panel delivers a bill, the industry pays.
Things usually get worse when the panel falls into the hands of a liberal, as it has under the chairmanship of Rep. Esteban Torres, D-Calif. Yet bank lobbyists have achieved a surprisingly high comfort level, in no small part because of Mr. Jacquez.
"He's a sensible, practical guy," said Stephen Verdier, lobbyist for the Independent Bankers Association of America.
"Professional and businesslike," added Joseph Belew, president of the consumer Bankers Association.
Mr. Jacquez, 37, has a businesslike agenda for the rest of the year. He hopes to see Congress finally enact the Truth in Savings bill. He is also pushing for amendments to the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
A 1982 graduate of the University of Texas' LBJ School of Public Policy, where he got a master's degree in public administration, Mr. Jacquez started out with a subcommittee in the Texas Legislature and then became an aide to Rep. Torres.
Like most congressional staff members, Mr. Jacquez has worked on whatever his boss was most interested in at the moment. As a result, he spent his early years working on housing and community development; he also was heavily involved in the hispanic Caucus when Rep. Torres was chairman.
Kelso, David A. Associate director, RTC operations
Office of Thrift Supervision 1700 G St., N.W. Washington, D.C. 20552
David A. Kelso was just getting ready to take a sabbatical in May 1990 from his 15-year career at Goldman, Sachs & co. when he joined the Office of Thrift Supervision, instead.
Which sounds better: four months travelling through Europe or a new career monitoring the Resolution Trust corp. as it bails out the thrift industry?
Mr. Kelso, 44, may not have made the choice that would have appealed to most people, but he is fascinated by his stint in government.
The agency's accelerated resolution program, which aims to save money by marketing and selling sick thrifts before the government is forced to seize them, is under Mr. Kelso's direction.
Currently, 30 of the 94 sickest thrifts are enrolled in the program, including Perpetual Savings, Washington, D.C. Mr. Kelso has pledged many sales under the program by yearend.
He also is helping the RTC sell assets in bulk, finance sales, and securitize its assets.
Maguire, Frank Senior deputy comptroller for legislative and public affairs
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency Independent Square 250 E St., S.W. Washington, D.C. 20219
At a recent wedding, an executive of a savings and loan jested that he wanted to stand next to the second-most-hated man in America. He promptly positioned himself beside Frank Maguire. Naturally, Mr. Maguire wanted to know who topped the list. The answer came back immediately: Robert L. Clarke, the comptroller and Mr. Maguire's boss.
When he isn't outside the office getting ribbed. Mr. Maguire is usually in meetings with Mr. Clarke. After nearly six years with the agency, Mr. Maguire is Mr. Clarke's closest adviser.
"Frank is Clarke's commonsense check," said one insider. "He tries to maintain an objective view."
Mr. Maguire is also a member of the agency's policy group, and he recently he was named acting head of the corporate policy and economic analysis division, which handles charter applications.
"It's more than a full-time job," he said.
On weekends, Mr. Maguire leaves the banking world behind for more patrician pursuits. He owns several horses and belongs to a hunt club in Virginia. On days off, he saddles up, and it's off to the hounds.
"It's better than a therapist," he said. "When you're out there and your life is on the line, you can't worry about anything else."
Martinez, Sylvia director, housing finance programs
Federal Housing Finance Board 1777 F Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20006
The Federal Housing Finance Board's trump card in its bid for political support is its affordable-housing program, funded by the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks.
Much credit goes to Sylvia Martinez, who has convinced lenders, state agencies, and housing interests that they have a stake in keeping the bank system profitable.
Since arriving at the Finance Board in March, Ms. Martinez has aggressively pieced together resources to keep subsidies flowing to low-income housing, even as the home Loan Bank's income declines.
"She's known as a fighter," said Peggy Miller, the Consumer Federation of America's banking lobbyist.
Ms. Martinez' passion for housing runs deep. She was born and raised in Mexico, where "housing conditions were deplorable," she recalled.
She came to the united States in 1969 to study piano at the University of California at Los Angeles but veered into urban planning.
It was her young daughter's serious illness, however, that crystallized her commitment to decent housing in the mid-1970s.
Medical bills wiped out the family's finances. They lost their home and for a time had to sleep on friends' floors or camp out.
That spurred her to fight in the state assembly for a housing trust fund. Later, she helped Bank of America and Wells Fargo National Bank build community reinvestment programs.
Ms. Martinez is no Washington insider, but that doesn't trouble her. "If you cut your teeth on California politics, you can do anything," she said.
Murphy, Jeanne Marie Vice president of congressional affairs
Credit Union National Association 805 15th St., N.W., #300 Washington, D.C. 20005
During the legislative season, Jeanne Marie Murphy and the 12,800 credit unions she represents just want to be left alone.
The credit union industry is pretty happy with life the way it is, thank you very much, and it wants no part of the various "reforms" that come out of the White House and Department of Treasury when major bills begin taking shape.
The bank reform bill unveiled by the Treasury in February looked too much like a "Brave New World of Financial Services," she said. Thanks to Ms. Murphy and CUNA's legendary grass-roots capabilities, however, credit unions are virtually untouched by the bill's current revisions.
Ms. Murphy has been a CUNA lobbyists since 1983, working Capitol Hill on behalf of the tax-exempt financial cooperatives to which 60 million Americans entrust their money.
One of her big jobs is to remind lawmakers of the distinctions between credit unions and banks -- distinctions critics charge are disappearing quickly as credit unions offer a broader range of services to more and more people.
"People tend to lump us together, and the BCCI scandal on top of the emptying Bank Insurance Fund has scared them," Ms. Murphy said.
But she's quick to remind legislators that credit unions are not-for-profit cooperatives, whereas banks are profit-making enterprises.
Before joining CUNA, Ms. Murphy was Senate lobbyist for the Independent Bankers Association of America, one of the many bank groups that would love to see credit unions lose their tax-exempt status.
But in this town of hurrying briefcases, Ms. Murphy did not find the transition from community banking to a credit union orientation particularly difficult.
Community outlets are still her focus, she said, and she continues to be committed to the idea of "democratic financial institutions."
Ms. Murphy, 43, is from Pennsylvania. She earned a bachelor's degree in English at Marywood College in Scranton, Pa.
Raphaelson, Ira H. Special counsel -- financial institutions fraud
Department of Justice 10th and Constitution Ave., N.W. Washington, D.C. 20530
Ira H. Raphaelson is the financial services industry's new knuckle cruncher at the Department of Justice. He's responsible for coordinating the crackdown against thrift, bank, and credit union executives who milk and bilk their institutions.
The job isn't an easy one. Banking regulators and Justice Department attorneys don't often get along. When working on cases together, they squabble over information and turf. The challenge for Mr. Raphaelson, 38, is to turn those turf fights into teamwork.
"He can do it," said James Dudine, assistant director of investigations at the Resolution Trust Corp. "He seems to be willing to put himself at risk -- to achieve that overall goal."
Mr. Raphaelson is also interested in progress. He's begun charting convicions of, and penalties against, bank and credit union officials, in addition to thrift executives. The numbers continue to rise.
"there was an impression that existed in Congress that Justice wasn't doing anything. nobody is saying we have done nothing anymore," Mr. Raphaelson said.
A 1977 graduate of the northwestern University Law School, Mr. Raphaelson joined the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago in 1980 as a line assistant and became deputy chief for special prosecutions in 1986.
In 1987 and 1988, he headed an investigation into corruption in city contracts, known as Operation Phocus Probe, which resulted in 58 convictions. For his work he was awarded the Attorney General's John Marshall award.
By the time he left for Washington last January, Mr. Raphaelson was first assistant to the U.S. attorney. He had become well known for his role in investigations of alleged corrupt trading practices on the Chicago Board of Trade and Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
Rusbuldt, Robert Vice president, government relations
Independent Insurance Agents of America 600 Pennsylvania Ave., S.E. #200 Washington, D.C. 20003
Bob Rusbuldt is the banking industry's nightmare on Elm Street.
Just when the legislative prospect seemed brightest, as it did briefly this year, Mr. Rusbuldt and his Independent Insurance Agents of America stepped in with their own unsettling dream of the financial services industry's future.
The insurance agents won some ground in the House Banking Committee early this year and advanced their agenda even further when the Senate Banking Committee considered similar banking reform legislation. by the time the house Energy and Commerce Comittee finished its work, the agensts seemed well on their way to getting almost everything they wanted -- all of it at the expense of the banking industry.
The insurance agents' group is powerful in part because of its numbers: 500,000 members strong, all of them professional sales men or women, and each one willing to write letters, make telephone calls, and even visit a lawmaker's office in person, if necessary.
But they also owe much of their legislative prowess to lobbyists like Mr. Rusbuldt, whose sterling Republican credentials are matched only by the golden Democratic contacts of his boss, Paul Equale.
Both men work hard at maintaining their party ties. Mr. Rusbuldt -- who feels such close affinity to the GOP that he said, if cut, he "would bleed Republican blue" -- made a crucial early contact while working at night a decade ago on his master's degree from American University in Washington.
A classmate in the political science curriculum was Rep. Carroll Campbell, R-S.C. the two hit it off, and Mr. Campbell asked Mr. Rusbuldt, then a Labor Department employee, to come to work for him.
Mr. Campbell was later elected governor of South Carolina, and Mr. Rusbuldt, his house Ways and Means committee staffer, signed on first with the American Insurance Association and then with the independence agents.
Unlike other lobbyists, both Mr. Rushbuldt and Mr. Equale are party activists. That sometimes puts him in awkward positions, as when a close friend, Rep. John Rowland, R-Conn., was pitted against longtime insurance industry stalwart Rep. Bruce Morrison, D-Conn., in their state's gubernatorial election. (The independent agents gave money to Mr. Morrison, and Mr. Rusbuldt gave his energies to Mr. Rowland's campaign.)
Similarly, Mr. Rusbuldt has devoted considerable effort to winning back Mr. Campbell's former House seat for the COP, though it is being occupied by Rep. Elizabeth Patterson, a member of the House Banking Committee. (Mr. Equale visits Ms. Patterson when contact is necessary.)
Mr. Rusbuldt said the conflicts are few. And in any event, he adds, "I'm not going to neuter myself for a job. I think member of Congress respect that."
Sivon, James C. Partner
Graham & James 2000 M St., N.W., #700 Washington, D.C. 20036
Jim Sivon is taciturn about himself and his work, but he has many fans in Washington.
Chief counsel and minority staff director for the House Banking Committee from 1974 to 1983, he is now in private practice. Along with his colleague and partner at Graham & James, Robert Barnett, he represents, among others, New York's Citibank in its dealings with regulators and Congress.
"he's natural leader," said Richard Whiting, general counsel for the Association of Bank Holding Companies, where Mr. Sivon was senior vice president from 1983 to 1985. Mr. Sivon continues as outside counsel for ABHC.
Low-key to a fault, Mr. Sivon is described by friend and foe alike as smart and straightforward. Even those who oppose him on legislative issues admit he's a tough negotiator who knows his way around banking politics.
Kenneth Guenther, for example, describes Mr. Sivon as "a fine lawyer with excellent connections in the house Banking Committee," though their agendas usually conflict. Mr. Guenther heads the Independent Bankers Association of America, a trade group for community banks.
Mr. Sivon says spending nine years on the banking committee staff, particularly during the evolution of the Chrysler loan guarantee package, was a "fascinating experience." But he's enjoying his new focus, too.
Steinbrink, Stephen R. Senior deputy comptroller for bank supervision operations
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency Independence Square 250 E ST., S.W. Washington, D.C. 20219
A year and a half ago, Stephen R. Steinbrink was lured to Washington from Dallas and given the mission of assembling and launching teams of examiners to pore over the financial affairs of New England's faltering commercial banks.
The assignment was to be temporary. But Mr. Steinbrink is still here, and holding down one of the agency's top regulatory positions on a permanent appointment.
Today, he is senior deputy comptroller for bank supervision operations. More than 2,000 examiners in the Comptroller's office report to him, as do eight depuuty comptrollers. He's also a member of Comptroller Robert L. Clarke's inner circle, the small group of senior officials that makes policy decisions.
"They convinced me that this would probably be a good career move," said Mr. Steinbrink, 46, who started with the agency in Kansas City in 1967.
Shortly after Mr. Steinbrink arrived in Washington, he was thrown onto the firing line. He faced reporters, analysts, and politicians who questioned the agency's crackdown on New England banks.
The agency is still being criticized for the way it handled the Bank of New England debacle, but Mr. Steinbrink hasn't been jaded by Washingtonhs harsh judgments.
"Maybe I'm too optimistic," he said. "If you are going to be a bank regulatory, you are going to be under criticism. It never hurts to see how people are looking at you to see if you ought to change."
Verdier, Stephen J. Lobbyist
Independent Bankers Association of America One Thomas Circle Suite 950 Washington, D.C. 20003
The Independent Bankers Association of America lacks the heavy artillery of the American Bankers Association and other large trade groups. As a result, it is forced to resort to guerrilla tactics or to seek out alliances, such as this year's coalition with the American Association of Retired Persons.
The master of the game is Kenneth Guenther, executive vice president of the community bankers organization. But Mr. Guenther relies heavily on a small band of nimble, high-octane lobbyists, including Stephen J. Verdier.
Mr. Verdier is a familiar sight in the corridors of the Rayburn House Office Building, his tie almost always loosened and his suit jacket folded over his arm. Mr. Verdier manages to maintain close ties to other industry lobbyists, though his organization is usually working in a direction 180 degrees away from that of the rest of the banking industry.
Mr. Verdier enjoys his share of successes, however. While it is never easy to distinguish whose lobbying efforts were most important to any one bill, the independent bankers -- primarily Mr. Verdier and Mr. Guenther -- did much of the heavy lifting that led to closing of the nonbank-bank loophole in 1987. This year, they are working equally hard to kill the Bush administration's bank reform bill.
Mr. Verdier learned the legislative process at the knee of Paul Nelson, an acknowledgement master parliamentarian who served for years as the house Banking Committee's staff director.
"Everything I know, I learned from him, said Mr. Verdier of Mr. Nelson. "He was very much an idealist. But that didn't mean he couldn't get a compromise through. And he loved procedure. He never wanted to do a bill the same way twice."
Mr. Verdier worked on the banking committee from 1976 to 1983, when Mr. Guenther asked him to join the independent bankers. The transition was dramatic.
On the committee, he was a legislative aide, and his job was relatively straightforward. Lobbyists sought him out and thanked him profusely when he said yes (as in, "yes, I think we might able to include that amendment in our bill").
At the independent bankers, all of a sudden, he was on the outside looking in, standing in line with the other lobbyists to plead for favors from young committee aides.
He also learned quickly that the independent bankers took a different view of legislation than other trade groups. "It's shop where the marching orders are to be provocative and outrageous," he said.
Washington, Consuela M. Counsel
House Committee Energy and Commerce 2125 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515
Little-known but much feared, Consuela M. Washington has stood guard over the securities industry for more than a decade. And over the years, bankers have learned to their dismay that she is a formidable gate-keeper indeed.
The lesson was learned again last month, when the house Energy and Commerce Committee, where Ms. Washington is counsel, took up the bush administration's banking reform bill.
Big banks had been in a state of euphoria since the draft bill was unveiled in February, with its promise of Glass-Steagall repeal and enhanced insurance powers. But he Energy and Commerce panel quickly pulled away the punch bowl form the banking industry's party.
The bill the committee reported out in September realized the industry's worst nightmares. The Glass-Steagall Act was repealed but on terms so harsh as to make the new securities powers useless. Insurance activities were further restricted.
The committee's bill largely reflected the views of committee Chairman John D. Dingell, D-Mich., and the craftsmanship of Ms. Washington. But it isn't easy to know where Rep. Dingell stops and Ms. Washington begins. Over the years, say those who follow the panel, the two have developed a close working relationship in which Ms. Washington, who knows her chairman's views in detail, is given considerable latitude.
A Harvard-educated lawyer, Ms. Washington worked three years in private practice, including a stint at the Washington law firm of Kirkland & Ellis, before moving to the Securities and Exchange Commissions, where she was a lawyer in the corporate finance division.
She joined the Energy and Commerce Committee in 1979, when it was still know as the committee on interstate and foreign commerce.
Weicher, John C. Assistant Secretary, policy and development research
Department of housing and Urban Development 451 Seventh St., S.W. Washington, D.C. 20410
People in the housing finance industry refer to John. C. Weicher as HUD's "mr. Policy."
As assistant secretary for policy and development research at the housing agency, he's seen as HUD Secretary Jack Kemp's right-hand man.
"When it comes to policy, he calls the shots," said a trade group representative.
Mr. Weicher is an economist by training who, not surprisingly, has a fee- market bent.
His basic philosophy is that the government should not be running substantial segments of the economy. Rather, it should state the ground rules, correct imperfections, and offer a saftey net for those who require one.
President Bush appointed Mr. Weicher to the HUD post in 1989. Before that, he was associate director for economic policy in the White House Office of Management and Budget. He also held a minor post in the Reagan White House.
He is on leave from the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, where he held the F.K. Weyerhaeuser Chair in Public Policy Research.
Currently, his attention is focused on Mr. Kemp's plan to get management and ownership of low-income housing directly into the hands of the people who live there.
As to the future, he said he will stay on at HUD as long as Mr. Kemp and the President would like him to stay. "But I don't anticipate spending the rest of my life in an agency."
Winer, Jonathan M. Counsel
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. 421 Russell Center Office building Washington, D.C. 20510
Jonathan M. Winer has a hankering for hot investigations, and he's got his hands on one that sizzles -- the Bank of Credit and Commerce International.
The 37-year-old Mr. Winer is spearheading Sen. John Kerry's probe of the Luxembourg-based bank, which was seized by regulators worldwide in July.
During the summer, he was logging 60 hours a week scrounging for documents and trying to piece together clues in a cramped, paper-ridden officE. "Anytime there was a new development, we would react to it and try and push things along," he said.
The result was several revealing hearings last summer held by Sen. Kerry, D-Mass., who heads the Foreign Relations subcommittee on terrorism, narcotics, and international operations.
Thin and balding, Mr. Winer can often be seen perched behind Sen. Kerry during hearings, prompting his boss with whispered advice and follow-up questions.
Mr. Winer said his desire to dig comes from his father, a medical researcher. He melds this passion with a zeal to keep government and business honest.