congress watch

(to be renamed when i think of something)

Waxman throws Rs a bone – hearing on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

December 9th, 2008 by selise

Republicans on Waxman’s House Oversight and Government Reform committee have been complaining about the need to investigate how Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac caused the collapse of the Housing market. Today is the promised hearing. I predict it will come close, if not set a record, for Republican bloviating.

10 am – House Oversight and Government Reform
“The Role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the Financial Crisis”
The hearing will examine the extent to which the actions and policies of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may have contributed to the ongoing crisis.


  • Leland Brendsel, former CEO, Freddie Mac
  • Daniel Mudd, former CEO, Fannie Mae
  • Franklin Raines, former CEO, Fannie Mae
  • Richard Syron, former CEO, Freddie Mac
  • Edward Pinto, Real Estate Financial Services Consultant, Chief Credit Officer, Fannie Mae, 1987-1989
  • Arnold Kling, Federal Reserve Board of Governors, 1980-1986, Senior Economist at Freddie Mac, 1986-1994
  • Charles W. Calomiris, Henry Kaufman Professor of Financial Institutions, Columbia University Business School
  • Thomas H. Stanton, Fellow of the Center for the Study of American Government, Johns Hopkins University

Live coverage at CSPAN (direct realplayer link) and the committee website. For later viewing, the hearing will be posted in the CSPAN archive.

The weekly hearing list is back.

UPDATE: great links from cbl2:
How mortgage giant Freddie Mac waged a war of influence that co-opted Congress

When the Washington Nationals played their first-ever baseball game in the nation’s capital in April 2005, two congressmen who oversaw mortgage giant Freddie Mac had choice seats — courtesy of the very company they were supposed to be keeping an eye on.

Efforts to tighten government regulation were gaining support on Capitol Hill, and Freddie Mac was fighting back. The baseball tickets for home opener were means of influence.

According to confidential company documents obtained by The Associated Press, Reps. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, and Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa., spent the evening in hard-to-obtain seats near the Nationals dugout with Freddie Mac executive Hollis McLoughlin and four of Freddie Mac’s in-house lobbyists.

Kanjorski declined comment through a spokeswoman. Ney ultimately served a federal prison term after pleading guilty to trading political favors for a golf trip to Scotland, other gifts and campaign donations in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal.

The Nationals tickets were bargains for Freddie Mac, part of a well-orchestrated, multimillion-dollar campaign to preserve its largely regulatory-free environment, with particular pressure exerted on Republicans who controlled Congress at the time.

Internal Freddie Mac budget records show $11.7 million was paid to 52 outside lobbyists and consultants in 2006. Power brokers such as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich were recruited with six-figure contracts

Internal Warnings Sounded on Loans At Fannie, Freddie

Internal Freddie Mac documents show that senior executives at the company were warned years ago that they were offering mortgages that could pose dangers to the firm, hurt borrowers and generate more risky loans throughout the industry.

At Fannie Mae, top executives were told it was necessary to develop "underground" efforts to buy subprime mortgages because of competitive pressures, although there were growing risks and borrowers often didn’t understand the terms of the loans, documents show.

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which has the documents, is holding a hearing today to discuss Fannie and Freddie’s downfall. The companies were seized by the government three months ago after nearly collapsing in the wake of billions of dollars of losses on mortgages.

x-posted at oxdown

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