Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are back in the news, as it was recently revealed that Freddie Mac paid over $1 million to presidential candidate and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich to be a consultant.
Gingrich maintains he simply gave advice to the company, which was not followed — this is not illegal. As Bryan Preston points out, Gingrich is merely guilty of feeding at the government trough. While troubling, this is hardly a matter comparable to that of top executive compensation at Fannie and Freddie: they took millions, while taxpayers shoveled out billions to try to rescue the giants.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, released areport on their compensation just prior to a November 16 hearing on executive salaries at the mortgage giants. The testimony was rather interesting: Issa asked several questions of both Fannie Mae CEO Michael Williams and Freddie Mac CEO Ed Haldeman regarding their compensation. They didn’t seem to be able to remember how much money they’d made in recent years.