Scott Brown makes it official with Wall Street

The former senator joins a law firm representing big banks as Elizabeth Warren rails against them

Topics: Scott Brown, Elizabeth Warren, Lobbying, Wall Street,

Scott Brown makes it official with Wall StreetScott Brown (Credit: AP/Alex Brandon)

Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown announced today that he’s joining the government affairs department of a giant multinational law firm with major Wall Street clients.

“Brown will focus his practice on business and governmental affairs as they relate to the financial services industry as well as on commercial real estate matters,” the firm, Nixon Peabody LLC, said in a press release. Brown will not be a lobbyist, the firm said, but whether he meets the specific legal requirements to be a registered lobbyist or not, it’s clear that he will draw on his contacts and status to help advance clients’ agenda in government. “He can offer many types of legal services to his broad network of contacts,” the firm said.

The head of the Nixon Peabody’s Government Relations practice is ex-New York congressman Tom Reynolds, who now lobbies for Goldman Sachs on “[f]inancial services regulatory and tax issues.” According to the firm, Brown will also work with fellow Massachusettsian Jim Vallee, who abruptly left his job as majority leader of the state House of Representatives last year after getting hired by the firm.

Nixon Peabody contributed $2,500 to a PAC associated with Brown’s reelection campaign last year, the most it gave to any candidate in the country (tied only with a Democratic House member).

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Brown was a reliable ally of the financial services industry in the Senate, where he helped water down the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law and influence other bills of interest to banks. It was no surprise, considering how much money they threw at his campaigns. The Securities and Investment sector was the top industry donor to Brown’s 2012 campaign, giving him $3.2 million, on top of the millions he received from the insurance, real estate and finance industries, according to Open Secrets.

The move, however, is a blow to Massachusetts Republicans, who see Brown as their best — and possibly only — hope of retaking a Senate seat or winning the governor’s mansion. Perhaps Brown didn’t think he could win or perhaps he was more interested in cashing in.

It’s notable that Massachusetts voters have replaced Brown, who is now almost literally a Wall Street lobbyist, with Elizabeth Warren, one of the most outspoken critics of the finance industry in the country.

Alex Seitz-Wald
Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon's political reporter. Email him at aseitz-wald@salon.com, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald.

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