Seventy Republican members of Congress want Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to cancel up to $6 million in bonuses and deferred compensation — approved before Christmas 2009 — for the chief executive officers of the failed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
“(T)here’s a letter that’s going to Sec. Geithner from a number of us calling for a rescission of those bonuses,” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) told CNSNews.com Wednesday.
On Christmas Eve, at the same time the Obama administration announced that it was removing any cap on the amount of taxpayer aid to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the failed mortgage giants announced that they had received approval from their financial regulator to pay $42 million in compensation packages to 12 top executives for 2009.
The compensation packages included up to $6 million each to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac chief executives. For the CEOs, annual compensation consists of a base salary of $900,000, $3.1 million in deferred compensation and incentive pay of as much as $2 million. Public disclosure that the retention bonuses were being copnsidered first surfaced in the Spring.
And naturally my favorite member of Congress was involved:
“(We are pushing) for an ending — an unwinding, if you will — of the U.S. owning Fannie and Freddie. We want out of this sinking business as quickly as we possibly can, and we want to pull the plug on an unlimited taxpayer bailout of Freddie and Fannie,” Bachmann said.
[…]“When Sec. Geithner said that there’d be unlimited taxpayer funding continuing to go into this sinking ship, and then bonuses they’re given?,” she said. “On what basis? What did they do? What was the criteria that they could possibly be given a bonus? The fact that they got unlimited taxpayer money?”
Bachman was referring to Treasury’s announcement that it would send unlimited tax money to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, thereby eliminating the current $400 billion cap on emergency aid that Treasury can give without having to come back to Congress for authorization.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are closely tied to Democrats.
Freddie and Fannie used huge lobbying budgets and political contributions to keep regulators off their backs.
A group called the Center for Responsive Politics keeps track of which politicians get Fannie and Freddie political contributions. The top three U.S. senators getting big Fannie and Freddie political bucks were Democrats and No. 2 is Sen. Barack Obama.
Now remember, he’s only been in the Senate four years, but he still managed to grab the No. 2 spot ahead of John Kerry — decades in the Senate — and Chris Dodd, who is chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.
Fannie and Freddie have been creations of the congressional Democrats and the Clinton White House, designed to make mortgages available to more people and, as it turns out, some people who couldn’t afford them.
Fannie and Freddie have also been places for big Washington Democrats to go to work in the semi-private sector and pocket millions. The Clinton administration’s White House Budget Director Franklin Raines ran Fannie and collected $50 million. Jamie Gorelick — Clinton Justice Department official — worked for Fannie and took home $26 million. Big Democrat Jim Johnson, recently on Obama’s VP search committee, has hauled in millions from his Fannie Mae CEO job.