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July 23, 2008

Feds Ride to the Rescue of Incompetent Bullies

Incompetent at their mission, that is. Not at being bullies.

The companies eased their assaults when they concluded we weren't about to stop, and in any case they soon had bigger problems. Freddie's accounting fiasco became public in 2003, while Fannie's accounting blew up in 2004. Mr. Raines was forced to resign, and a report by regulator James Lockhart discovered that Fannie had rigged its earnings in a way that allowed it to pay huge bonuses to Mr. Raines and other executives.

Such a debacle after so much denial would have sunk any normal financial company, but once again Fan and Fred could fall back on their political protection. In the wake of Freddie's implosion, Republican Rep. Cliff Stearns of Florida held one hearing on its accounting practices and scheduled more in early 2004.

He was soon told that not only could he hold no more hearings, but House Speaker Dennis Hastert was stripping his subcommittee of jurisdiction over Fan and Fred's accounting and giving it to Mike Oxley's Financial Services Committee. "It was because of all their lobbying work," explains Mr. Stearns today, in epic understatement. Mr. Oxley proceeded to let Barney Frank (D., Mass.), then in the minority, roll all over him and protect the companies from stronger regulatory oversight. Mr. Oxley, who has since retired, was the featured guest at no fewer than 19 Fannie-sponsored fund-raisers.

Read the whole blood-pressure-raising article, which provides a perfect example of why members of Congress from both parties are so unpopular.

Update - And here's another example. You just bought Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. four Sony Bravia 46-inch, high-definition LCD TVs for his two Chicago-area offices. And that's just the tip of the congressional spending iceberg.

I'm sure your generosity is appreciated.


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posted by Slublog at 12:31 PM

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