Group Questions FHFA Over GSE Political Campaign Contributions

Judicial Watch, a group that describes itself as a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation that investigates government corruption, says it has filed a new motion in its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) that would force the Obama administration to release documents related to political contributions made by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

According to the FHFA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac might possess documents responsive to Judicial Watch's initial FOIA request. The agency, however, claims it is not obligated to release such documents to the public, Judicial Watch says. Judicial Watch maintains that since Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are now wholly operated by the federal government, they are subject to FOIA law.

Judicial Watch filed its original FOIA request on May 29, 2009. The FHFA acknowledged receipt of Judicial Watch's FOIA request July 1, 2009. The agency claimed that while Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac might possess the requested documents, the FHFA was not obligated to release them under FOIA, because the agency does not ‘control’ them.

As noted in a recent Obama administration court filing, ‘…Any records created by or held in the custody of [Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac] reflecting their political campaign contributions or policies, stipulations and requirements concerning campaign contributions necessarily are private corporate documents. They are not 'agency records' subject to disclosure under FOIA," Judicial Watch says.

According to Judicial Watch's motion filed on March 5, 2009, Fannie and Freddie are no longer private enterprises, and therefore, their records are subject to FOIA law.

"When it comes to Fannie and Freddie, the Obama administration is saying, in effect, 'None of your business,'’ says Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. ‘There is nothing ambiguous about the government's absolute control of Fannie and Freddie, which raises the question, what does the Obama administration have to hide?’

According to Judicial Watch's review of the top recipients of Fannie and Freddie campaign contributions from 1989 through 2008, Obama is second on the list, ranked between Senators Chris Dodd, D-Conn., (first) and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. (third).

SOURCE: Judicial Watch


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