House panel trio move into senior lobbying posts

Three veterans of the House Financial Services Committee’s Republican staff have secured top lobbying posts for the financial industry. 

Glenn Westrick, the former senior counsel to Rep. Michael Oxley (R-Ohio), who was then the committee chairman, has joined the Washington, D.C., office of St. Paul Travelers as the assistant vice president for government relations.

Brendan Reilly, a lobbyist for the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America (IIABA) and a former senior staffer to the committee, will become the first registered lobbyist for the Commercial Mortgage Securities Association (CMSA), a New York-based trade group.

Another Financial Services staffer, Clifford Roberti, will ramp up lobbying for the Calmetto Management Group, a South Carolina-based professional services and government-relations firm. He will become manager of government relations in the Washington office.

All three men overlapped on the Financial Services Committee.

In his new role, Reilly, 29, will start federal-government lobbying for an industry that has ballooned from a few billion dollars to nearly $1 trillion in the span of a few years. CMSA has more than 400 members that include large banks, investment firms, rating agencies and insurance companies. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, among the largest purchasers of mortgage-backed securities, also belong to the association.

“I’m extremely excited about this new opportunity in an industry that has shown tremendous growth,” Reilly said. “I look forward to helping them achieve their public-policy goals in this new endeavor.”

In addition to his role at Calmetto, Roberti, 27, will also become the director of government relations for the Self-Insurance Institute of America (SIIA), Calmetto’s biggest client. He is looking to hire another lobbyist with a strong background in the health-insurance industry.

“There’s definitely a lot of work to do and a lot of progress to be made,” Roberti said. “I’m very excited about the opportunity.”

Westrick, 36, declined to comment.

First and foremost, Reilly will push for an extension of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) of 2002, which expires at the end of the year. Maintaining this government backstop to commercial real estate insurance underwriters is crucial to the mortgage securitization industry, he said.

Roberti explained that Calmetto and SIAA decided to beef up their Washington presence to further the goal of making insurance more widely available and affordable. His top priorities this year include pushing for Association Health Plans and an expansion of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) as well as the Risk Retention Act. Passed in 1986, the legislation allowed individuals with similar risk profiles to form insurance companies, such as when doctors come together to pool medical malpractice liability risk.

During his one year on the Financial Services Committee, Roberti worked on the extension of TRIA and the passage of the Non-Admitted and Reinsurance Reform Act. He worked for four years on Wall Street, at UBS Investment Bank, before heading to Capitol Hill.

After serving on the Financial Services Committee as liaison to former Chairman Oxley and vice chairman to former Rep. Sue Kelly (R-N.Y.), Reilly spent two years at IIABA, also known as the “Big I.” Before joining the Financial Service Committee staff, he worked for former Rep. Bob Riley (R), who is now governor of Alabama, and was a senior staffer to Rep. Mike Ferguson (R-N.J.).

Roberti will start at Calmetto on Monday. Reilly will begin at CMSA on March 5.