Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) write today in the Wall Street Journal that the “bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is another outrageous, but sadly necessary, step for these two institutions.” They pledge to end the use of “taxpayer backing to serve lobbyists, management, boards and shareholders” and call lobbyists “primary contributors” to the crisis:
We will make sure that they are permanently restructured and downsized, and no longer use taxpayer backing to serve lobbyists, management, boards and shareholders. […]
[The federal bailout] terminates future lobbying, which was one of the primary contributors to this great debacle.
The feigned outrage of McCain and Palin at the inaction of Congress and the influence of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac lobbyists is ironic considering the fact that “at least 20 McCain fundraisers have lobbied on behalf of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac” in recent years.
More troubling is the fact that McCain’s campaign manager, Rick Davis, “served as president of an advocacy group led by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac” that worked to cripple regulatory initiatives in Congress because the two institutions feared that “Congressional meddling would lower their healthy profits.” As the Politico reported in July:
Davis headed the Homeownership Alliance, a lobbying association that included Fannie, Freddie, nonprofit groups, real estate agents, homebuilders and consumer advocates. … [The group] worked to oppose congressional efforts to tighten controls on Fannie and Freddie.
In July 2003 for example, Davis “wrote to the American Banker, taking issue with an opinion piece…arguing that Fannie and Freddie should operate with greater transparency.” Such transparency and greater regulatory controls might have averted the current crisis.