After recently resigning as Commissioner of the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), David Stevens has been tapped to lead the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). In an announcement, the MBA pointed to Stevens' long tenure as a mortgage industry executive, along with his leadership at the FHA, as uniquely qualifying him to lead the MBA through their next chapter. The announcement has raised questions, however, involving the administration's "Revolving Door Ban" signed by Stevens.
The Obama Administration required all administration personnel, which would have included Stevens when he was appointed to the FHA, to sign the Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Personnel, including the "Revolving Door Ban," when accepting their positions. The ban states, "upon leaving Government service, not to lobby any covered executive branch official or non-career Senior Executive Service appointee for the remainder of the Administration."
Since the MBA is essentially a trade lobbying organization, Stevens could ultimately be very limited in his dealings with the Administration as it relates to supporting the MBA's legislative goals. However, it is important to point out that the ban only applies to the Executive Branch of the government, so the ban would not restrict his dealings with Congress on behalf of the organization. For the remaining two weeks before his resignation is finalized, Stevens must also be conscious of potential conflicts of interest between competing interests of the FHA and MBA. He has committed to recuse himself from any matters that do come up as his tenure winds down.
The ban would remain in effect for the remainder of the Obama administration. Should the President get reelected, that could lead to a six year period that he would be restricted by the ban.
The MBA believes that the combination of Stevens' industry and government experience makes him the perfect fit to head the organizations role as a leading "voice in advocacy, communications, education and research." Of course, it doesn't hurt that during his two years as head of the FHA he has to work closely with members of Congress who are responsible for legislation related to the mortgage industry. He will undoubtedly be called upon to leverage those relationships in furthering the MBA's legislative agenda.