Fannie and Freddie need criminal investigation 0

 From today’s Investor’s Business Daily:

Here’s how James B. Lockhart III, head of the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, described the two companies back in 2006, before the meltdown occurred:

"The result of (Fannie’s and Freddie’s) rapid growth unconstrained by market forces and a weak regulator was years of mismanagement, flagrant earnings manipulation, and systems-and-controls problems. Managements of both companies were forced out, earnings were misstated by an estimated $16 billion, fines exceeding one-half billion dollars were imposed, and remedial costs will exceed $2 billion."

Yet Congress did nothing. Fannie and Freddie continued to enjoy a virtual monopoly of the housing finance market, holding nearly half the nation’s $12 trillion in mortgage assets in 2007.

And what happened to Fannie’s and Freddie’s top executives, almost all with deep ties to the Democratic Party? Did they get perp-walked to prison like WorldCom’s Bernie Ebbers, Tyco’s Dennis Koslowski, Adelphia’s John Rigas, ImClone’s Sam Waksal, or any of the others who did time for corporate misdeeds in the early 2000s?

No. Jim Johnson, former Walter Mondale aide, became head of Barack Obama’s vice presidential search committee. Franklin Raines, who headed Fannie from 1998 to 2004, the years of its worst excesses, pocketed nearly $100 million in pay and bonuses from Fannie. He, too, became an adviser to Obama.

Other Fannie-Freddie alumni did equally well. Rep. Rahm Emanuel has been front and center in crafting a new rescue bill. Ex-Clinton Justice official Jamie Gorelick careens from career catastrophe to catastrophe, and still gets top jobs. It pays to have ties.

Meanwhile, as previously documented, Rep. Barney Frank and Sen. Chris Dodd repeatedly thwarted reforms. Yet today they stand front-and-center as Democrats try to "fix" a problem they created.

As such, any investigation into Fannie and Freddie must include Congress, both current and past.

There’s lots of evidence that the two mortgage giants had become little more than taxpayer-guaranteed front companies for Democrats, who used them to reward supporters with cheap loans and to provide jobs for out-of-work politicians.

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, October 1, 2008

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