Robinhood steps up lobbying efforts as Washington scrutinizes trading app
Robinhood Markets Inc. now has a former Securities and Exchange Commission staff member and a former congressman as internal lobbyists, adding to its efforts to influence Washington after the company hired four outside lobbying firms the year last.
The Silicon Valley company, known for its stock trading app and role in the recent wild swings in the price of GameStop Inc. GME,
and other strongly shorted stocks, revealed the evolution of a disclosure filed last week.
The two internal lobbyists are Lucas Moskowitz, previously chief of staff at the Securities and Exchange Commission and lawyer for the House Financials Services Committee and the Senate Banking Committee, and Beth Zorc, previously lawyer for these same House and Senate panels as well as the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, according to disclosure.
They aim to influence Washington on issues such as Democratic invoices which would introduce a financial transaction tax (FTT), as well as Republican legislation this would prohibit states from imposing an FTT on retail investors, according to the disclosure.
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Robinhood’s disclosed expenses for lobbying in Washington totaled $ 275,000 last year, after no spending in 2019, according to data aggregated by OpenSecrets.org. The four lobbying firms hired by the company last year were Blue Ridge Law & Policy, Daly Consulting Group, Thorn Run Partners and Williams Group.
Big moves from GameStop and other actions have prompted the House Financial Services Committee and Senate Banking Committee to schedule hearings on the frenzied activity. Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev is expected to testify before the House panel on Thursday, while the Senate panel has yet to set a date for its hearing.
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Lobbyists have suggested their services will be in demand as Washington steps up its scrutiny of Wall Street players.
“Advocacy will be needed in the days, weeks and months to come as policymakers rush to articulate and legislate the alleged loopholes that have now been exposed in our financial system,” said Dave Oxner, CEO of Cogent. Strategies, in a recent blog post.
Robinhood declined to comment.
This report was first published on February 10, 2021.