By Victor Reklaitis
Robinhood Markets Inc. now has a former Securities and Exchange Commission staffer and a former congressional staffer as in-house lobbyists, adding to its effort to influence Washington after the company hired four outside lobbying firms last year.
The Silicon Valley company, known for its stock trading app and role in the recent wild swings in the price of GameStop Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203755179/composite GME -1.12% and other heavily shorted stocks, revealed the development in a disclosure filed last week .
The two in-house lobbyists are Lucas Moskowitz, previously a chief of staff at the Securities and Exchange Commission and counsel for the House Financials Services Committee and Senate Banking Committee, and Beth Zorc, previously counsel for those same House and Senate panels as well as the Department of Housing and Urban Development, according to the disclosure.
They are aiming to influence Washington on matters such as Democratic bills that would introduce a financial transaction tax (FTT), as well as Republican legislation that would prohibit states from imposing a FTT on retail investors, the disclosure said.
Robinhood’s disclosed spending on Washington lobbying totaled $275,000 last year, following no outlays 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.
The big moves in GameStop and other stocks have spurred the House Financial Services Committee and Senate Banking Committee to plan hearings on the frenzied activity. Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev is s lated to testify before the House panel on Thursday, while the Senate panel has not yet set a date for its hearing.
Lobbyists have been suggesting their services will be in demand as Washington steps up its scrutiny of Wall Street players.
“Advocacy will be required in the days, weeks and months ahead as policymakers rush to articulate and legislate the supposed flaws that have now been revealed in our financial system,” said Dave Oxner, managing director at Cogent Strategies, in a recent blog post .
Robinhood declined to comment.
This report was first published on Feb. 10, 2021.