Newt Gingrich and Freddie Mac – MSM Hit Piece?
We hear quite a bit from the MSM about Newt Gingrich’s ties to Freddie Mac. Newt Gingrich acknowledged on Wednesday, November 16, 2011, that his company, The Gingrich Group, had received consulting fees of between $1.6 million and $1.8 million from mortgage giant Freddie Mac over eight years for providing “strategic advice.” A Freddie Mac spokesperson said Gingrich was a consultant, not a lobbyist for the firm. “The Gingrich Group offered strategic advice to a wide variety of clients about a wide variety of issues, including IBM, Microsoft, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and more,” Gingrich’s campaign said in a statement. “Gingrich Group fees were comparable to that of many consulting firms.” Gingrich’s first contract with Freddie Mac began five months after he resigned in 1999 from Congress and as speaker of the House of Representatives. His last contract ended in 2008.
The biggest damage to his credibility could come from how he has blasted Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae in 2008, demanding that President Obama and other members of Congress return the money they received from them, and more recently said Democrats like Rep. Barney Frank should be jailed for having ties with lobbyists at those organizations. But the cited source did NOT distinguish between contributions and fees.
So, with the MSM focusing on Newt Gingrich, let’s see of what other opportunities the MSM may have availed themselves.
Freddie Mac CEO Charles E. Haldeman Jr. received a base salary of $900,000, and took home an additional $2.3 million in bonus pay. He stands to make as much as $6 million in 2011. Leland C. Brendsel (Freddie Mac CEO 1987-03) took home more than $28.4 million from 1993 to 2003. Richard Syron (Freddie Mac CEO, 2003-08) earned more than $38 million in compensation while he was CEO. Syron collected $19.8 million of this pay in 2007 alone, the year before the enterprise went into conservatorship.
This source elaborates on the Obama-Freddie Mac/Fannie Mae connection.
After Barack Obama was nominated by the Democrat party, he asked, among others, Jim Johnson, Fannie Mae CEO from 1991 to 1998, to help him search for a vice presidential candidate. Johnson made $21 million in one year from Fannie-Mae.
President Barack Obama had numerous connections with Franklin Raines, Fannie Mae CEO from 1999 to 2004. Raines received $90 million from Fannie Mae, and he gets a pension of over $1.2 million per year. Obama received thousands of dollars in campaign donations from Fannie Mae.
Jamie Gorelick, best known for her “wall” memo, was vice chairman of Fannie Mae when it began bundling subprime loans into securitized financial instruments. She received a bonus of $779,625 in 1998 alone, after it was discovered that Fannie Mae employees falsified signatures on accounting transactions that helped the company meet earnings targets for 1998, a “manipulation” that triggered multimillion-dollar bonuses for top executives. She was paid was paid $26,466,834 in salary, bonuses, performance pay and stock options from 1998 to 2003.
Fannie Mae Chief Financial Officer J. Timothy Howard received $493,750 in 1998. Howard was ousted by the Fannie Mae board in December, 2004, after the chief accountant of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) agreed with the head of the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight’s (OFHEO) criticism of the company’s accounting, including the 1998 bonus maneuver. Howard, whose resignation is officially viewed as a retirement, stands to get an annual pension of more than $400,000, plus lifetime access to Fannie Mae’s medical benefits. He is also owed more than $4 million in stock options.
So I guess the bottom line is that, before it starts doing stories on the Newt Gingrich/Freddie Mac connection and all the money Newt made, it has PLENTY of other opportunities to do stories on other Freddie Mac/Fannie Mae executives who “made” much more money than Newt did.
BTW, this article is in no way a defense of what Newt Gingrich did. It simply illustrates how the MSM can, through selective reporting, manipulate most of the U.S. population.
But that’s just my opinion.
And, yes, I have read Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon, by Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner. I highly recommend it.