Issa Demands More Fannie, Freddie Lobby Records

Posted December 11, 2008 at 12:59pm

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s incoming ranking member is demanding that failed federal mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac turn over nine years of lobbying records.

In a letter to outgoing Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) on Thursday, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) reiterated a request that Democrats require Freddie and Fannie — which are now under federal control — “to include records of any money spent on lobbying activities directed at Members of Congress and congressional staff” from 2000 to 2008.

“During [Tuesday’s] hearing on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s involvement in the financial crisis, the topic of lobbying by the government-sponsored enterprises played a prominent role in the discussion between committee members and former Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac officials,” Issa wrote to Waxman, who is leaving the panel next month to become chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“The minority believes that a thorough review of all documents and records related to the GSE’s lobbying efforts related to enhanced regulation and oversight of GSE business practices is essential to ensuring that the committee has a clear picture of the GSEs involvement in the sub-prime and other nontraditional mortgage business,” Issa continued.

Issa will replace ex-Rep. Tom Davis (Va.) as the top Republican on the Oversight Committee. Davis, who announced his retirement earlier this year, vacated his post early to start a lucrative job with Deloitte Consulting.

Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) will succeed Waxman next Congress as Oversight chairman.

At Tuesday’s hearing, House Republicans were critical of Fannie and Freddie’s reported $175 million lobbying operation during the past decade. Some Republicans claim that Freddie and Fannie’s overly aggressive lobbying tactics to thwart federal regulation and reporting requirements may have contributed to the nation’s ongoing housing crisis.