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Jewish World Review
Oct. 23, 2008
/ 24 Tishrei 5769
Obama's Amazing Fannie Contributions: Getting to the bottom of Congress's role, slowly
John H. Fund
Congresses under control of both parties clearly failed in their oversight responsibilities before the recent financial meltdown. Since then, Republicans have pressed Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, to hold hearings into how Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac contributed to the problem. It now looks as if Mr. Waxman will finally call a hearing -- for November 20, a date safely after the election.
During a recent hearing on the collapse of the investment bank Lehman Brothers, Republicans on Mr. Waxman's committee kept up a drumbeat of criticism for his refusal to call such an inquiry. "Any hearing on oversight that does not begin with Fannie and Freddie and [former Fannie Mae CEO] Franklin Raines will be a sham," said Florida Rep. John Mica. "This is like investigating a train robbery and only talking to the dining car stewards."
Mr. Waxman insisted his reluctance to call a hearing stemmed from civic mindedness. "I don't think we ought to use these hearings to be partisan," he told the committee earlier this month.
But now Mr. Waxman has apparently decided it's safe to hold a hearing after those inconveniently partisan things called elections are over. He will call several ex-CEOs of the mortgage lenders, including Mr. Raines. Republicans are already making a list of all of the inconvenient facts that won't be aired until it's too late to influence voters at the ballot box. For one, who knew that Senator Barack Obama was the largest single recipient of Fannie Mae campaign contributions over the last 20 years, save for Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd? More amazing still, Mr. Obama pulled off this feat even though he had only been in the Senate for four of those 20 years.
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JWR contributor John H. Fund is author, most recently, of "Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy". (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.)
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© 2006, John H. Fund