Magazine article American Banker

New MBA Leader Can't Lobby FHA

Magazine article American Banker

New MBA Leader Can't Lobby FHA

Article excerpt

Byline: Kate Berry

In his first year as head of the Mortgage Bankers Association, David Stevens will be barred from having contact with the federal agency that matters most to many of the trade group's members: the one he's leaving.

Stevens, who last week announced he would step down in mid-April as assistant secretary for the Department of Housing and Urban Development and commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration, will join the MBA as president and chief executive June 1, the group said Tuesday.

"There is a year that he cannot engage with HUD but he can talk to them casually," said David Kittle, senior director of industry relations at IMARC, a mortgage fraud investigation company, and a former MBA chairman who serves on the trade group's nominating committee.

Federal ethics rules restrict senior government officials from lobbying their former agencies for one year after leaving in a "cooling off" period to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.

However, when President Obama took office, he extended those restrictions to two years for senior government employees. The rules do not limit what business or group a government official can work for but rather what they can do when once they get there, said a spokesman for the Office of Government Ethics.

Before accepting the MBA job, Stevens worked with HUD's general counsel to make sure he followed any ethics rules, a HUD spokesman said. There also are conflict-of-interest restrictions on negotiating future employment while serving as a public official. …

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