Why Did This Ex-Goldman Employee Working in Congress Change His Name?

A staffer working for Rep. Darrell Issa's Oversight Committee on financial regulation issues has come under scrutiny by ThinkProgress for changing his name after he left his previous position at Goldman Sachs. The story implied that he changed his name three years ago to hide his background with the company.

But Peter Haller, formerly known as Peter Simonyi, said in a statement to TPM that 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 by fascists in Budapest in 1944 when 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.

"During a period of unemployment following my time at Goldman Sachs, I found the time to proceed with the name change, as did my sister," Haller said. "Please note my father and mother remain happily married to this day."

Haller hasn't hidden his name change. It was noted on his biography on the website of his previous employer and on his page of Legistorm, an online database of congressional salaries.

His name came up in a letter that Issa sent to government regulators asking them to justify new requirements on derivatives.

Haller's full statement to TPM:

My mother, whose maiden name is Theodora Maria Theresia haller-koi gr Haller (in the U.S., Dora Haller), married Imre Gabor Simonyi and took his name. Her father Alfred haller-koi gr Haller was killed in Budapest in 1944 by fascists as he attempted to prevent children from being conscripted into the military. Prior to his return to Hungary in 1944, he served under Regent Miklos Horthy, as a Hungarian diplomat stationed in England supporting the British in opposition to Germany. His last request was that if Theodora marries, her husband and children would carry on the Haller name. 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. During a period of unemployment following my time at Goldman Sachs, I found the time to proceed with the name change, as did my sister. Please note my father and mother remain happily married to this day. My name change was public on the Brickfield Burchette Ritts & Stone website (BBRS.com) during my entire time with that firm. BBRS was my first employer following the name change.

Issa spokeswoman Becca Watkins offered up this statement: "Information peddled by faux reporters, like those at the left-wing Center for American Progress, is almost always sensationalized and often factually inaccurate. The truth is often far from how they try to portray it."


Why Did This Ex-Goldman Employee Working in Congress Change His Name?Republished with permission from TalkingPointsMemo.com. Authored by Ryan J. Reilly. Photos via AP/BBRS Law. TPM provides breaking news, investigative reporting and smart analysis of politics.