A staffer for California’s Republican congressman Darrell Issa, who used to work for Goldman Sachs, changed his name before taking a job with the politician, and now lobbies Congress to go easier on big banks. Yesterday, we noted Matt Taibbi’s new Rolling Stone piece, in which he slams the “revolving-door dynamic” between the Securities and Exchange Commission and the financial institutions they’re supposed to regulate. Peter Haller, also known as Peter Simonyi, seems to be the perfect example. Not only did he make the Goldman-to-government jump (after switching to his mother’s maiden name), but he previously worked at the SEC, as well. Now he’s employed by Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee.
Think Progress reports that a letter Issa wrote to the committee, wherein he says new regulations could hurt brokers “such as Goldman Sachs,” featured the contact information for Haller, presumably Issa’s point person on the issue. According to the liberal watchdog blog, Haller was going by Simonyi as late as 2008, just before he left his job as a vice-president at Goldman.
Update: Haller has provided an extremely reasonable explanation for the name-change to Talking Points Memo. It wasn’t about hiding at all, he says. It was about family:
“As my sister and I became adults, at some point discussions began that we should carry on the name of my mother’s family, which had lived in Transylvania, up until it was granted to Romania under the Treaty of Trianon after World War I,” Haller said.
Exclusive: Goldman Sachs VP Changed His Name, Now Advances Goldman Lobbying Interests As Top Staffer To Darrell Issa [Think Progress]
Ex-Goldman Employee On Issa’s Staff Says He Changed Name To Honor Transylvanian Heritage [TPM]