McCollum Aide Is Big Man on House Banking

Article excerpt

From one perspective, it appears Doyle C. Bartlett is right back where he started.

Nearly 10 years after he left Rep. Bill McCollum's staff to begin a career as a banking lobbyist, Mr. Bartlett is again at the side of the Florida Republican - this time as his chief of staff.

But for both men, things have changed in a big way. They are now rising stars. Rep. McCollum is a conservative veteran of the House with close ties to its leaders, and Mr. Bartlett is a well-respected lawyer who has had a hand in crafting major banking legislation.

By rejoining Rep. McCollum's staff, Mr. Bartlett also renewed a professional relationship that had a dramatic impact on his personal life.

His career in banking law started when Rep. McCollum transferred him in 1985 from Orlando to Washington to be his representative on the Banking Committee's staff. The congressman also introduced Mr. Bartlett to Leslie Woolley, a staff member who would eventually become his wife. Today, Ms. Woolley is a senior official at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Rep. McCollum said he's thrilled to have his longtime friend on his staff. "I think it's terrific," he said. "He's a very easy person for me to work with."

Like the role of his boss, Mr. Bartlett's duties have expanded well beyond banking. His first task after rejoining Rep. McCollum's team in the fall of 1994 was organizing his bid to become House majority whip. Though that effort failed, Rep. McCollum landed two plums from Republican leaders: chairmanship of the House Judiciary Committee's crime subcommittee and a seat on the Republican Party's 1996 platform committee.

For both men, there is less time for banking.

"I try to keep my hands in banking, but I also devote a lot of time to the crime subcommittee," Mr. Bartlett said.

"It varies, depending on what is coming up. When banking issues come up, I dedicate the majority of my time to them. Right now, I'm spending most of my time planning and getting the agenda set for" this year's congressional session.

Though all of Mr. Bartlett's Washington experience has been in the banking arena, Rep. McCollum said his talents translate well to the broader responsibilities of a top staff member.

"He's developed a lot of skills," he said. "He's an attorney now and has a good network of contacts in the business community in general, not just banking. Doyle's also good at working with people and has good political instincts, which any chief of staff needs."

Despite the extra duties, though, banking will remain a major part of Mr. Bartlett's work load. Rep. McCollum is the highest-ranking Republican on the House Banking Committee after Chairman Jim Leach of Iowa.

Many bank lobbyists are speculating that Rep. Leach wants to head the International Relations Committee if the job comes open. That would leave the banking chairmanship to Rep. McCollum.

But no big change is expected soon. International relations Chairman Benjamin A. Gilman of New York plans to run for reelection, a spokesman said.

Mr. Bartlett is still looked to as a leader on banking issues. With the banking panel's staff bearing most of the burden of drafting legislation to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act and to rebuild the thrift insurance fund, he is credited with helping aides to the committee's 15 Republican freshmen get up to speed.

"The staff freshmen tend to look to Bartlett for guidance. Because Leach and his staffers were (controlling) so much legislation, Doyle had an opportunity to interact with other staffers," said Paul Clark, a banking lawyer at the Washington firm Seward & Kissel and a close friend of Mr. Bartlett.

Mr. Bartlett has held senior posts at a banking trade group as well as at the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., giving him a background rare for a lawmaker's personal aide.

After Republicans reduced committee staff sizes, Rep. McCollum was no longer eligible to appoint a representative, making Mr. …