Dole and challenger for U.S. Senate seat talk about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Mark Wineka
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., says she has continually tried to improve oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
“For years, while many in Congress have looked the other way,” Dole said Monday, “I have repeatedly expressed outrage about the improper dealings of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, including their accounting irregularities, excessive executive salaries and intense lobbying activities costing millions of dollars.”
Meanwhile, Dole’s Democratic opponent, state Sen. Kay Hagan of Greensboro, said the mortgage giants’ troubles reflect the failed economic policies of the Bush-Cheney administration, “rubber-stamped by Elizabeth Dole.”
“There is widespread consensus that the failure of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae would spell disaster for our economy, which is already on the brink,” Hagan said Monday.
“The families I talk to can’t wait around for the other shoe to drop. But the larger question is, how did we get here in the first place?”
Both Dole and Hagan issued press releases connected to Sunday’s news that the U.S. Treasury Department had seized the institutions and placed them under conservatorship.
In 2003 after Freddie Mac misstated earnings, Dole helped to introduce legislation to strengthen the oversight of Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSE), according to Dole’s office.
In response, the Dole camp says, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae dispatched an army of lobbyists to Capitol Hill to oppose the bill, spending $26 million in 2004 and more than $24 million in 2005.
Dole again “helped to reintroduce” the GSE reform bill in 2005, Dole’s office said. The Senate Banking Committee approved it in July 2005, but the legislation was never considered by the full Senate.
Dole reintroduced the bill in 2007 with Sens. Chuck Hagel, Mel Martinez and John Sununu.
Since arriving in the Senate,” Dole said, “I have rebuffed pressure from those doing Fannie and Freddie’s bidding, including their protectors in Congress. I have worked to shed light on the enormous risk these entities pose to the American taxpayers and the overall economy.”
This summer’s housing bill, signed into law by President Bush in July, created a stronger GSE regulator and provided the Treasury Department the authority to place the lenders under conservatorship.
“In the Senate Banking Committee, we will be closely reviewing these actions,” Dole said, “and I will continue my strongest efforts to protect the taxpayers as this process moves forward.”
Hagan said she supports the federal government’s intervention, “so long as it responsibly helps shore up the financial markets, without further padding the pockets of investors and CEOs.”
Hagan said the failed policies of Republicans have put the needs of corporate CEOs ahead of working families.