Going for Brogue
Veteran banking lawyer/lobbyist Paul S. Quinn joined Nossaman LLP as a partner.
The plain-speaking Democrat, who played a major role in the 1990s in persuading Congress to allow interstate banking, has spent the past five years at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, a Pittsburgh firm where he represented PNC Financial Services Group Inc. and BlackRock Inc.
Quinn made the move because Nossaman merged with O'Connor & Hannon LLC, a firm he'd long had close ties to; his brother Tommy worked there for decades before joining Venable LLP.
At Nossaman, Quinn will do regulatory and legislative work for MasterCard and Fidelity Investments as well as some hedge funds and PNC.
Like every other financial services lobbyist in town, Quinn is tracking regulatory reform. But while Sen. Chris Dodd is expected to unveil his new bill today, this week will be a big one for Quinn for other reasons.
An Irishman to his core, Quinn will kick up his 75-year-old heels at the American Ireland Fund's national gala Tuesday, an enormously successful fundraiser he founded 20 years ago. And on Wednesday he'll be at the White House celebrating St. Patrick's Day with President Obama and Ireland's prime minister.
In Sen. Bob Corker's own words, Wednesday was one of the "more bizarre days that I've ever experienced in the Senate."
The Tennessee Republican started out the day as a power player, saying a deal with Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd was "imminent" and telling members of the news media to "just chill."
He even spent some of the morning giving Dodd a pep talk.
"I've learned that when the person you are dealing with is under stress, every now and then you need to call them and sort of buck things up, if you will," Corker said at a press conference last week.
But by the end of Wednesday, it was Corker who needed the pep talk. Dodd told him privately that he was doing his own reform bill without Corker. Though the Tennessee Republican insisted it had been "fun" to try and negotiate on the bill, he also appeared to be trying to buck himself up.
"I'm going to get a good night's sleep tonight," he said. "I'm going to dust off. I'm going to wake up in the morning and going to come back and I'm going to continue to do what the people of Tennessee elected me to do."
Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., was interrupted by a chorus of angels during a conference call last week.
Alas, the music turned out not to be a divine endorsement for his and Jeff Merkley's bill to ban commercial banks from proprietary trading, but rather the consequence of an anonymous reporter putting the call on hold.
The hold automatically triggered the din of electric-harp-driven background music, which successfully drowned out Levin's exposition of the bills finer points. After a confused minute of dismayed interjections, Merkley soldiered on, trying to explain why it's important for risky investments to be out of the hands of commercial banks. But as the song moved on to one with a decidedly Caribbean flare, the lawmakers finally gave up.
"We're enormously frustrated," said Merkley, D-Ore.
Is Fonzie Next?
Hollywood continues to prove more adept than Democrats on Capitol Hill at selling the Consumer Financial Protection Agency.
A week after funnyordie.com posted its hugely popular presidential reunion sketch — with nearly 3 million hits as of Friday afternoon — on Tuesday the Web site unveiled another Ron Howard-directed CFPA-booster clip, this one featuring "The Hills" star and plastic-surgery enthusiast Heidi Montag.
OK, a quick refresher: "The Hills" is an MTV show about the "real" lives of twentysomethings who live in the Hollywood Hills and have better tans than most bankers and members of Congress.
In the clip, Montag explains how plastic surgery can set celebrities back financially, especially if you pay with plastic. "With hidden fees and standard interest-rate increases, that $11,000 jaw line can end up costing you an upwards of $50,000," she said. "A consumer agency will stop banks and credit card companies from being such sleazy jerks."
The clip ends with Montag reclining in as bathtub as images of Dodd and Richard Shelby, the senior members of the Senate Banking Committee, pop up. "Call Senators Chris Dodd and Richard Shelby … your calls can make a difference," she said, before adding, "You'll listen to this part because I'm in the tub."