Update (3 p.m. EDT): Haller told TPM Muckracker on Thursday that he changed his name not to hide his identity, but to honor his mother’s family.
Peter Haller, formerly known as Peter Simonyi, said in a statement to TPM says he and his sister switched their names a few years back to respect the last wish of his grandfather to carry on his mother’s family name.
His mother’s father, Alfred haller-koi gr Haller, was killed in Budapest in 1944 by Fascists as he tried to stop children from being conscripted into the military, Haller said.
“As my sister and I became adults, at some point discussions began that we should carry on the name of my mother’s family, which had lived in Transylvania, up until it was granted to Romania under the Treaty of Trianon after World War I,” Haller said.
ThinkProgress brings an unusual scoop about a staffer in the office of Darrell Issa, a Republican U.S. representative from California who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The staffer, named Peter Haller, once worked for Goldman Sachs, but reportedly changed his name from Peter Simonyi when he left the company three years ago. As an Issa staffer hired this year, he signed his name as the point person for a July letter Issa sent “to top government regulators demanding that they back off and provide more justification for new margin requirements for financial firms dealing in derivatives.” As ThinkProgress’s Lee Fang points out, that’s just the kind of letter Goldman and its peers want to see.
Issa’s demand to regulators is exactly what banks have been wishing for. Indeed, Goldman Sachs has spent millions this year trying to slow down the implementation of the new rules. In the letter, Issa explicitly mentions that the new derivative regulations might hurt brokers “such as Goldman Sachs.”
Haller, as he is now known, went by the name Peter Simonyi until three years ago. Simonyi adopted his mother’s maiden name Haller in 2008 just as he was leaving Goldman Sachs as a vice president of the bank’s commodity compliance group. In a few short years, Haller went from being in charge of dealing with regulators for Goldman Sachs to working for Congress in a position where he made official demands from regulators overseeing his old firm.
The story goes on to outline Haller’s history of “work[ing] the revolving door to help out Goldman Sachs,” and Issa’s role in changing the focus of the oversight committee. But let’s just pause on the idea that somebody changed his name to better slide past the notice of government watchdogs, as Fang suggests. If indeed that was the case, you have to give a bit of credit for such a simple plan.
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