WASHINGTON — House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., instructed his committee employees Thursday to sever communications with a former staffer who took a job at IntercontinentalExchange Inc. after the financial-overhaul bill was approved by the House.
Peter Roberson used to work as a professional staff member for the House Financial Services' capital-markets team where he played a key role in crafting the derivatives part of the financial bill, which would move some products onto clearing and trading platforms, including those operated by ICE.
But in late January, after learning that Roberson was interviewing for a position with ICE, Frank asked him to leave his post, removed him from the payroll, de-activated his email account and took his Blackberry, keys and identification credentials, according to both Frank and Frank's spokesman.
"When Mr. Roberson was hired, it never occurred to me that he would jump so quickly from the Committee staff to an industry that was being affected by the Committee's legislation," Frank said in a statement. "When he called me to tell me that he was in conversations with them, I told him that I was disappointed and that I insisted that he take no further action as a member of the Committee staff."
A spokeswoman for ICE declined to comment on the issue.
Frank said there is a rule which bans staffers who leave for industry positions from interacting with committee members for one year, but he doesn't think this rule goes far enough.
Frank said Thursday he has instructed staff "to have no contact whatsoever with Mr. Roberson on any matters involving financial regulation for as long as I am in charge of that committee staff."
Roberson was asked to leave his committee position on Jan. 25; he was hired by ICE in February to act as the exchange's vice president of government relations. In that position, he will have the task of handling governmental issues in Washington for ICE.
Prior to being hired by the committee in 2007, Roberson worked for the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, a Frank spokesman said.