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What Does Fidelity Want From Barney Frank?

That’s the natural question to ask after perusing the first quarter campaign finance report that Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, filed last week.

Employees of Fidelity, the world’s largest mutual fund company, gave Frank $29,000 during the first three months of this year — that’s more than one-third of the total amount Frank received from all individuals in the first quarter ($83,765), according to the Federal Election Commission.

Fidelity is headquartered in Massachusetts, however, which makes you wonder if the company is just supporting a home-state congressman. But in the two decades before this year, Fidelity employees had given Frank just $3,750. Which brings us to the initial query: Why does Fidelity want Frank’s attention now?

Fidelity was among the companies taking a financial hit from the collapse of mortgage firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But unlike Massachusetts’ OneUnited Bank — which got a boost from Frank as it sought bailout money to make up for losses related to Fannie and Freddie holdings — Fidelity has yet to seek a direct capital infusion from the government.

So what else could Fidelity be eyeing during the current legislative session? Frank is on the verge of unveiling a broad regulatory reform bill that could shake up the landscape of agencies overseeing financial firms, including Fidelity. We may not know what’s on the company’s wish list yet, but we’ll soon find out.

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