Obama and McCain both have ties to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

By Laurie Bennett

September 10, 2008 at 9:28am

In the wake of the federal government’s bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two presidential candidates are calling for reform.

Yet, as The New York Times notes today, both men have close connections to the mortgage giants.

A former member of Barack Obama’s VP search team, James A. Johnson, served as chairman of Fannie Mae. Although the Obama campaign doesn’t take contributions from lobbyists, it has received significant donations from both companies’ employees and PACs.

John McCain’s connections to the two mortgage companies are more numerous. His campaign manager, Rick Davis, headed the Homeownership Alliance, an advocacy group for the two lenders. His close adviser, Charlie Black, is a long-time lobbyist whose firm represented Freddie Mac.

Two of McCain’s bundlers, supporters who help raise large amounts of money for the campaign, have ties to Fannie Mae. Robert H. Holt is a lobbyist for the firm, and Wayne Berman is managing director of Ogilvy Government Relations, which also represents the company.

A third McCain bundler, Geffrey T. Boisi, is a director of Freddie Mac.

Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have spent millions on lobbying; they each number among Washington’s top 20 lobbying spenders.

In an op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal yesterday, McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin pledged to protect taxpayers from further bailouts.

For years, Congress failed to act and it is deeply troubling that what we are now seeing is an exercise in crisis management rather than sound planning, and at great cost to taxpayers.

We promise the American people that our administration will be different. … We will make sure they are permanently restructured and downsized, and no longer use taxpayer backing to serve lobbyists, management, boards and shareholders.

Obama told MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann that both political parties had been negligent in overseeing the mortgage lenders.

“Republicans and Democrats, I think, in Congress did not pay enough attention to the structural problem with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,” he said.

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  • #1.   jim 10.02.2008

    community organizer Obama that is all I have to say

  • #2.   jim 10.02.2008

    U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama’s lost brother has been tracked down in Kenya. George Hussein Onyango Obama, aged 26, was found by journalists from the Italian edition of Vanity Fair. He reportedly lives in poverty in a shack on the outskirts of Nairobi.
    I am my brothers keeper thats great because if you treat America like your brother we are all screwed

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