Business & Lobbying

Robinhood looks for in-house lobbyist amid backlash from lawmakers

Greg Nash

Financial service company Robinhood is hiring to bulk up its lobbying portfolio amid scrutiny after lawmakers have ripped its decision to stop trading of GameStop and other companies whose stock has skyrocketed this week.  

GameStop, along with several other stocks, were restricted by Robinhood after a group of Reddit users targeted the stocks, driving the stock prices up. The stock purchases had been popularized by the Reddit forum r/WallStreetBets, which targeted hedge funds shorting the stocks.

The restrictions implemented by Robinhood drew widespread backlash from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle Thursday and even spurned a class-action lawsuit against the firm. 

Democratic leaders of the Senate Banking and House Financial Services committees announced they would hold hearings on the state of the stock market, online trading platforms and how Congress should bolster financial rules meant to protect amateur investors.

Amid the backlash that erupted this week, Robinhood posted a job listing for an in-house lobbyist on Friday.

The day-to-day description for the federal affairs manager role prioritized working on federal government relations with a primary focus on Congress, as well as facilitating participation in industry associations and navigating policy. 

The position will “focus on federal advocacy and government affairs related to legislative and regulatory matters, and will report to our Deputy General Counsel of Litigation, Regulatory Enforcement & Investigations, and Government & Regulatory Affairs,” according to the posting.

Robinhood spent $275,000 on lobbying in 2020 and had eight lobbyists on retainer, none of which were in-house. Lobbyists the company retained had connections to the Securities and Exchange Commission and Congress.

The company paid Daly Consulting Group $80,000, and Justin Daly, former commissioner’s counsel at SEC, and Erik Johnson, former aide to ex-Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio), worked on the account.

Robinhood paid Williams Group $75,000, and Michael Williams, former managing director at Credit Suisse, and Yvesner Zamar, former aide to Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), worked on the account.

It also paid Thorn Run Partners $70,000, and lobbyists Paul Bock, former chief of staff to ex-Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), and Jason Rosenstock, former counsel to ex-Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), worked on the account.

And Robinhood paid Blue Ridge Law & Policy $50,000, and Benjamin Brown, former counsel to the SEC, and William Liles, former senior counsel for Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee, worked on the account.

Tags Deb Haaland Lobbying Robinhood U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
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