Fannie & Freddie and Obama

My head is spinning from all this financial trauma. This (Fox News) Youtube video says Obama was one of the top three recipients of Fannie & Freddie dough. Does this make Obama “one of the good ol’ boys”? Help me understand…is he one of “them?” Is Fox spinning this to look worse than it is? I don’t know what to believe anymore.

Vile. Despicable. Biased partisan crap.

PBS Frontline history of regulation repeal, and the cast of Republican Characters who had their greedy paws in ensuring it, to the tune of $300 million in lobbying money and $150 million in campaign contributions over the course of 25 years, not a single one of which Barack Obama was even in politics during.

President Bush makes it his GOAL to increase low-income and minority home ownership by 5.5 million during his administration, and praises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for their role in this plan.

President Bush then prevents Attorneys General in all 50 states from enacting or upholding their own states’ laws against predatory lending, going so far as to SUE to prevent investigations into the practice.

They give money to both campaigns so they have their hooks in the winner. It is a common thing. Heres an example of the fun and lies.

While it is true the Obama was second when it comes to taking money from employees and PACS combined of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, only 6,000 came from PACS and 120,000 from individuals, meaning folks who work for Fannie MAe and Freddie Mac.

So yes it is true, but is it really the kind of money that screams influence and corruption to you?

Unlike the … oh … $15 Large a month Rick Davis over at the McCain campaign collected directly from Fannie Mae’s payroll for aparently not lobbying directly for them or something.

But as Sarah understands things, he has recused himself from any dealings with Fannie Mae, so this argument against Obama is bound to hold water.

You might want to start with the Center for Responsive Politics ,which the ever-brilliant John Gibson got the information from the first place:

Note that these are mostly individual employee contributions, of which Obama received $120k and Mccain received $21k.

However, in their methodology, they appear to deliberately leave out contributions from the board of directors and associated lobbyists of the two companies.

The NYtimes puts these contributions at $16k for Obama, but $169k for Mccain.

Okay, so as long as the dollars are from individuals (even though they’re employees of F&F) it doesn’t stink?

(Thank you all for your input. I’m really trying to get a handle on this stuff, but the information overload and complexity of it all are really grinding me down.)

Well that’s for you to decide, I suppose, but the absolute dollar numbers are in fact fairly trivial, IMO.

There is a good reason for that. Many board members sit on the board of more than one company. Should you count their individual contributions once for each board? No. Instead, they ‘counted’ it for the company where they were actually employed.

The only other alternatively would be to divide campaign contributions by the number of boards they sit on, but that makes historical data absolutely crazy to calculate.

I am an employee of a giant company that has sought and will continue to seek influence in government through lobbying. Any donation I make as an individual has nothing whatsoever to do with purchasing influence for my company. We are by no means encouraged to contribute to candidates that my company seeks influence with. The subject never comes up. It is hard for me to understand how a personal contribution I make could ever be seen as influential with respect to my employer.

Let’s examine all of the facts here.

Does McCain have people on his campaign staff with overly close toes to Freddie and Fannie? Yes he does.

Does Obama? Well, he sure did before he let Jim Johnson go. And we can comfortably state that Johnson was more highly placed in the organization than Rick Davis was.

Still, Obama did fire the man - I think only after the heat built up, but no matter. Safe to say that the allegation made above that the organizations liked to spread political influence around holds up pretty well.

I think it speaks well of McCain that he did try to rein in some of these abuses in 2006 - he signed on as a cosponsor of a bill that would have limited the amount of risky debt Mae and Mac could hold. The bill went nowhere - all of the committee Democrats voted against it and it was clear that it wouldn’t have passed the floor. I hasten to add that it is unlikely that these senators were aware at the time of the full scope of the structural problems there - these organizations were doing their best to conceal that so as to ensure large bonuses for the board. We don’t know how Obama would have voted, frankly - it never came before him as he wasn’t on that committee.

There were a lot of mistakes made here - I saw President Clinton on TV this morning, and he owned up to a few of them. Frankly, the Republican Party and this administration made a few as well. But this is such a complex matter and was borne of so many structural factors that, frankly, it defies partisan finger pointing.

Sure, I agree you have to use some sort of methodology when counting up contributions, and I don’t think that the CfRP’s method was particularly dishonest, but if you’re going to start discounting Board members because of their hypothetical “other board interests”, you might as well discount the employee from Freddie who donated for Obama but is from Chicago, or the guy from Fannie who donated to Mccain but is also a NRA member. How is one ever able to determine that they contributed for one cause, but not the other?

Personally, as far as individual donations go, I’m much more concerned with the people who actually control the company and influence the government(executives, board members, lobbyists)than I am with the other low-level employees, aren’t you?

Unfortunately, the CfRP doesn’t break down their data as far as I can tell, so I dunno how much of the donations for Obama were from upper-level executives vs. everyone else. But, considering the NYtimes data, I’m inclined to consider it a wash between the two candidates. $200k is a drop in the bucket anyways.