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A public interest law firm announced today it has filed a lawsuit seeking documents related to political contributions made by mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to several lawmakers, including then-Sen. Barack Obama.
Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, request with the Federal Housing Finance Agency, or FHFA, May 29, seeking the following records from 2005 to the present:
- Any and all Freddie Mac and/or Fannie Mae records concerning political campaign contributions; and
- Any and all Fannie Mae and/or Freddie Mac records concerning policies, stipulations, and/or requirements concerning campaign contributions.
In a July 1 letter, the FHFA initially claimed it had no documents relating to Judicial Watch’s FOIA request. However, it also insisted that while Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac might have the documents, the FHFA was not required to provide them under FOIA because it does not “control” them.
However, Judicial Watch argues that since Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are operated by the federal government through the FHFA they are both subject to FOIA law.
The firm appealed the FHFA’s decision. When its appeal was denied, Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit.
“The two government-sponsored enterprises, or GSEs, are in conservatorship under FHFA, which has full control over Fannie and Freddie, including their records,” Judicial Watch said in a statement. “In addition to the $840 billion in taxpayer funds (from the Fed and Treasury) already spend on behalf the GSEs, taxpayers face a potential liability of $5.4 trillion from Fannie and Freddie.”
According to 1989-2008 records available through Opensecrets.org, lawmakers have accepted more than $4.8 million in political contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the last 10 years. The following are the top 10 recipients of those financial gifts:
- Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn.;
- Then-Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.;
- Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.;
- Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah;
- Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala.;
- Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.;
- Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa.;
- Sen. Christopher Bond, R-Mo.,
- Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala.;
- Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I.
As WND reported, Obama in his three complete years in the Senate was the second largest recipient of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae campaign contributions, behind only Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., the powerful chairman of the Senate banking committee.
“So much for the new era of transparency from the Obama administration,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “The decision to keep Fannie’s and Freddie’s political contribution records secret conveniently protects President Obama, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and his top party allies on the hill. And more than a few Republicans stand to benefit from this improper secrecy.”
Fitton said Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae funneled profits from backing risky mortgages to politicians like Obama.
“In turn, these politicians protected Fannie and Freddie from proper oversight of the risks they were taking with taxpayer funds,” he said. “More than anything else, this fundamentally corrupt scheme led to the collapse of the housing market and the financial crisis. No wonder the Obama administration doesn’t want us to see what is in Fannie’s and Freddie’s records.”