Second-In-Command of Trump CFPB Spins Through Revolving Door Into Arms of Major Corporate Law Firm

Washington DC – Major corporate lobbying firm Alston & Bird has announced they are bringing on Brian Johnson, the outgoing Deputy Director of the Trump CFPB, as a partner. The firm has previously represented a number of CFPB-regulated industries including a credit bureau, pre-paid card companies, and a for-profit college. Derek Martin, director of consumer watchdog group Allied Progress which recently launched CFPBWatch.org, released the following in response:

“How predictable. Brian Johnson is cashing in and taking a plum K Street corporate gig after laying the groundwork for this moment for years. First, Johnson made a name for himself as a top aide for Jeb Hensarling, one of the most shameless Wall Street allies in Congress and staunch CFPB critic. Then former CFPB Director Mick Mulvaney hand-picked Johnson to help carry out his mission to weaken the CFPB from within.  It didn’t reflect well on Director Kraninger’s own priorities when she decided to keep Johnson around – which is likely why we’ve seen one concession to industry after another the past year. Brian Johnson has represented industry’s interests for decades. The only thing that’s changed is that now he’s on their payroll, too.”

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: 

CFPB #2 Going Through The Revolving Door To Big Time DC Lobbying Firm.

Former CFPB Deputy Director Brian Johnson Is Leaving The Bureau To Join A DC Lobbying Firm That Says His “‘Insider’s View Of The CFPB” Will Be Used To Help Clients On “‘Legal And Policy Issues At The Most Senior Levels In The CFPB.’”

CFPB Deputy Director Brian Johnson Will Now Be A Partner At The Law Firm Alston & Bird’s Washington Office.

Former CFPB Deputy Director Brian Johnson Will Be Joining The Alston & Bird Law Firm As “A Partner In The Firm’s Washington Office Beginning March 9.” “Alston & Bird LLP is set to add the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s second in command in the coming weeks. CFPB Deputy Director Brian Johnson, who notified the CFPB of his departure in an internal email Feb. 18, will be joining the Atlanta-based firm in early March, Alston & Bird said Tuesday. Johnson will be a partner in the firm’s Washington office beginning March 9.” [Evan Weinberger, “Alston & Bird Lands Departing CFPB Deputy Johnson,” Bloomberg Law, 02/25/20]

Alston & Bird Believes Johnson’s “‘Insider’s View of the CFPB’” Will Allow Him To Be A “Strong Voice And Advocate For Our Clients On Legal And Policy Issues At The Most Senior Levels In The CFPB.”

In Announcing His Hire At Alston & Bird, Chris Freiden, A “Partner And Co-Chair Of The Firm’s Financial Services & Products Group,” Said That Brian Johnson’s “Experience And Leadership In Government Regulation And Oversight” Will Help Him Be A “‘Strong Voice And Advocate For Our Clients On Legal And Policy Issues At The Most Senior Levels In The CFPB.’” “Alston & Bird is expanding its consumer financial services and public policy capabilities with the addition of Brian Johnson, deputy director of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), who will join the firm in March as partner in Washington, D.C. ‘Brian’s impressive combination of experience and leadership in government regulation and oversight in the financial services industry is second to none,’ said Chris Frieden, Alston & Bird partner and co-chair of the firm’s Financial Services & Products Group. ‘He will be a strong voice and advocate for our clients on legal and policy issues at the most senior levels in the CFPB and across Washington.’” [Press Release, Alston & Bird, 02/25/20]

Nanci Weissgold, Another Senior Member Of Alston & Bird’s Consumer Financial Services Team, Said That Brian Johnson’s “‘Insider’s View Of The CFPB’” Would “‘Serve Our Clients Well On Matters Ranging From Regulatory And Compliance Issues And Examinations To Enforcement And Related Litigation.’” “Nanci Weissgold, who co-leads Alston & Bird’s consumer financial services team, said in a press release that the CFPB ‘continues to be a significant challenge’ for the financial services industry and that Johnson’s experience at the agency will aid the firm’s clients. ‘Brian brings an insider’s view of the CFPB and its relationships with the executive branch and Congress that will serve our clients well on matters ranging from regulatory and compliance issues and examinations to enforcement and related litigation,’ Weissgold said.” [Neil Haggerty, “CFPB’s No. 2 to leave agency for law firm,” American Banker, 02/25/20]

Alston & Bird Has Previously Lobbied For A For-Profit Education Company, The Prepaid Card Industry, And A Credit Reporting Bureau.

Alston & Bird Has Lobbied On Behalf Of Bridgepoint Education, A For-Profit Education Company Now Known as Zovio.

In The Fourth Quarter Of 2016, Alston & Bird Was Paid $50,000 By Bridgepoint Education To Lobby Congress And The Department Of Veterans Affairs On “Post 9/11 G.I. Bill Benefits”. [Alston & Bird 2016 Q4 Lobbying Report, U.S. Senate Lobbying Disclosure Act Database, 01/23/17]

Bridgepoint Education, Now Known As Zovio, Is A Publicly Traded For-Profit Education Company That Operates The “Online For-Profit Ashford University.” “Bridgepoint Education is getting a makeover. This week, the publicly traded owner of online for-profit Ashford University and provider of online program management services announced a new name, new headquarters and new acquisition. Now called Zovio, the company has bought Los Angeles-based TutorMe, a provider of online tutoring services that connects students with experts for live, one-on-one sessions.” [Wade Tyler Millward, “Bridgepoint Education Gets a New Name, Office and Online Tutoring Service,” EdSurge, 04/04/19]

Alston & Bird Has Lobbied On Behalf Of The Consumer Choice Prepaid Card Coalition, A Trade Association Representing The Prepaid Card Industry.

In The First Quarter Of 2010, Alston & Bird Lobbied Congress And Federal Agencies On Behalf Of The Consumer Choice Prepaid Card Coalition. [Alston & Bird 2010 Q1 Lobbying Report, U.S. Senate Lobbying Disclosure Act Database, 04/20/10]

The Consumer Choice Prepaid Card Coalition Is A Trade Association Representing The Prepaid Card Industry. “Affiliated organizations: Blackhawk Network; Metapay; Fidelity National Information Service; Simon Property Group; Kroger; Green Dot; PreCash; TxVia; Store Financial; Springbok Systems; Incomm; The Bancorp, Inc.” [“Consumer Choice Prepaid Card Coalition,” ProPublica, accessed 02/26/20]

Alston & Bird Has Lobbied On Behalf Of Experian Inc., A Credit Reporting Company.

In The Second Quarter Of 2010, Alston & Bird Was Paid $120,000 By Experian Inc. To Lobby Congress And The Federal Trade Commission On “Online Behavorial [sic] Advertising And Related Privacy Issues; H.R. 2221, Data Accountability And Trust Act; H.R. 4173, Wall Street Reform And Consumer Protection Act Of 2009; S. 3217, Restoring American Financial Stability Act Of 2010; And Federal Trade Commission Reauthorization Legislation.”  [Alston & Bird 2010 Q2 Lobbying Report, U.S. Senate Lobbying Disclosure Act Database, 07/20/10]

Experian Is A “Global Leader In Consumer And Business Credit Reporting And Marketing Services.”“Experian is a global leader in consumer and business credit reporting and marketing services and a constituent of the United Kingdom’s FTSE 100 index, with total revenue for the year ended March 31, 2016, of US$4.6 billion.” [“About Experian,” Experian, accessed 02/26/20]

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