Sunday, July 13, 2008

Kiss My Fannie, Mac

To understand how incestuous and corrupt our capital has become, one must read this morning's article in the NYT on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Here are some key (and disgusting) elements:
In Washington, Fannie and Freddie’s sprawling lobbying machine hired
family and friends of politicians in their efforts to quickly sideline
any regulations that might slow their growth or invite greater
oversight of their business practices.
Fannie and Freddie were careful to include powerful Democrats and
Republicans as executives, board members and lobbyists to make sure
they had access to top government officials and clout on Capitol Hill,
no matter which party was in power.

Fannie also opened up what it called Partnership Offices. They were
billed as regional oversight offices for various housing projects
financed by Fannie. In reality, critics, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development,
said they were used primarily to influence Congress by providing local
politicians and business leaders with ample ribbon-cutting ceremonies
and photo opportunities.

The offices were often run by and
populated with former Congressional staff members. Several of those
offices were staffed by family members of legislators, said Joshua
Rosner, an analyst at Graham-Fisher in New York.

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