Stivers expected to co-chair Municipal Finance Caucus

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WASHINGTON – An announcement is expected Monday that Rep. Steve Stivers of Ohio will serve as Republican co-chair of the bipartisan Municipal Finance Caucus in the next Congress, replacing Rep. Randy Hultgren of Illinois who lost in the November election.

Hultrgen co-founded the group in March 2016 with Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland, who will continue as the Democratic co-chair.

Stivers, who serves on the House Financial Services Committee, has been a Series 7 licensed securities trader and executive at Bank One. He has been active on muni policy during his time in office, urging the Securities and Exchange Commission to clarify municipal advisor regulations and co-sponsoring legislation aimed at increasing the appetite of money market funds for municipal bonds.

He’s also served more than 30 years in the Ohio Army National Guard and holds the rank of brigadier general.

News of the pending announcement was prematurely released Tuesday evening by the Council of Development Finance Agencies in a legislative update.

The CDFA email to members included a letter from the Municipal Bonds for America Coalition congratulating Stivers on his new position.

“The caucus and its leaders fought to preserve tax-exempt financing during debate of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and are expected to play a key role as Congress turns to legislation to help in the funding and financing of our nation’s core infrastructure,” the statement said.

In addition to CDFA, members of the coalition include the American Public Power Association, National Association of Bond Lawyers, Bond Dealers of America, National Association of Health and Educational Facilities Finance Authorities, the National Council of State Housing Agencies, the Investment Company Institute, National League of Cities and Large Public Power Council.

House Republicans lost 40 seats in last month’s election and the outcome of one race in North Carolina is still not certified. The results mean Democrats will regain majority control of the House for the first time since 2010.

The president’s political party typically loses seats in Congress during his first mid-term election.

In addition to Hultgren, two other House Republicans who are muni industry allies -- Reps. Peter Roskam of Illinois and Erik Paulsen of Minnesota – lost last month.

But on the positive side, Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., who is nearly certain to chair the House Ways and Means Committee next year, is among the more than 20 members of the Municipal Finance Caucus who were re-elected.

The pending announcement about Stivers’ role in the Municipal Finance Caucus, meanwhile, has been overshadowed this week by questions about when he learned about hacked emails at the campaign committee for House Republicans.

Stivers is completing a two-year volunteer role as chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, where the emails of four senior aides were hacked.

Politico, which first reported the hack on Tuesday, said that top House Republican leaders, including Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., were unaware of the hack until Politico contacted them on Monday.

“The intrusion was detected in April by an NRCC vendor, who alerted the committee and its cybersecurity contractor,” Politico said. “An internal investigation was initiated, and the FBI was alerted to the attack, said the officials, who requested anonymity to discuss the incident.”

Stivers has not publicly commented on the hack, leaving it unclear when he learned about the cyber intrusion.

Depending on the details of how much Stivers knew about the hack and may have withheld from his Republican colleagues, it could diminish has standing within party ranks.

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