Departing FHA Chief Can't Lobby His Former Agency for First Year

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For at least his first year as head of the Mortgage Bankers Association, David Stevens will be barred from lobbying the federal agency that matters most to many of the trade group's members: the one he's leaving, the Federal Housing Administration.

"There is a year that he cannot engage with HUD but he can talk to them casually," said David Kittle, senior director of industry relations at IMARC, a mortgage fraud investigation company, and a former MBA chairman who serves on the trade group's nominating committee.

Federal ethics rules restrict senior government officials from lobbying their former agencies for one year after leaving in a "cooling off" period to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.

However, when President Obama took office, he extended those restrictions to two years for senior government employees. The rules do not limit what business or group a government official can work for but rather what they can do when once they get there, said a spokesman for the Office of Government Ethics.

As reported by National Mortgage News mid-day Tuesday, Stevens will be taking over as president of the MBA on June 1. (See related story on this website.)

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