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Correspondence: Michael G. Oxley on 'The Gilded Age'

Dear Editor:

The content of Dave Jamieson’s article referring to the time of my chairmanship, "The Gilded Age," was filled with errors and misrepresentations.

With 600 lawyers and fewer than ten lobbyists, Baker Hostetler is a law firm, not a lobbying firm.

The Committee I chaired in the House is the Financial Services Committee, not the "finance committee." The Finance Committee is in the Senate and is entirely different.

Mr. Jamieson seems to dismiss our GSE reform bill, saying that I "got a bill dealing with Fannie Mae out of committee in 2005." Actually, it was a comprehensive GSE reform bill that passed the full House with a bipartisan vote of 331-90.

All staff travel was public and was dutifully reported, which is why is Mr. Jamieson can easily report the number of trips and their cost.

Mr. Jamieson detailed the comings and goings of only Republican staff members, but changing jobs within one’s field is common and lawful and done by Democrats as well.

Looking back on my chairmanship, I recall: the tech bubble recession; 9/11 terrorist financing issues; the freeze of the commercial insurance markets; bankruptcies, fraud, accounting problems … I could go on.

A gilded age? Obviously spoken by someone who wasn't involved.

Yours truly,

Michael G. Oxley


Dave Jamieson responds: Mr. Oxley is quibbling with some of the phrasing I used in my story. At the risk of quibbling a bit myself, I'd like to point out that these were not, in fact, "errors." First: His firm, Baker Hostetler, which was not mentioned by name in the story, typically does a few million dollars' worth of lobbying each year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics; I'm comfortable using the term "lobbying firm." Second: I called his committee the House Financial Services Committee upon first mention; it was the finance committee thereafter. Three: I never said anything inaccurate about his GSE bill, nor did I dismiss it; as I mention in the story, it simply never made it through the Senate. Four: I never said or implied that the privately funded travel he approved for Congressional staffers was not a matter of public record.

It seems Mr. Oxley isn't questioning my facts so much as my tone. In his defense, he explains that from a financial perspective these were tumultuous years: the tech bubble, 9/11, massive accounting fraud, etc. That's a valid point. And had he agreed to an interview in the first place, I surely would have aired it for him.

By Michael G. Oxley