Ambinder reported Judy Black's PowerPoint linking Dems and Fannie and Freddie, but not her husband's link

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder reported that Judy Black, whom he identified as "a policy director (read: lead lobbyist) for Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck's DC arm" and "the wife of McCain strategist Charlie Black," forwarded a PowerPoint presentation on the "campaign contributions that Fannie and Freddie provided to leading Democratic members of Congress." But Ambinder did not point out that Charlie Black has lobbied for Freddie Mac.

In an October 8 blog post, Atlantic associate editor Marc Ambinder reported that "Republicans are now heavily invested in blaming the Democrats' coddling of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for the subprime mortgage crisis." Ambinder then noted that Judy Black -- whom he identified as "a policy director (read: lead lobbyist) for Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck's DC arm" and "the wife of McCain strategist Charlie Black" -- had "forwarded to GOP lobbyists a Power Point presentation -- SHOTINTHEFANNIEMAE.PPS -- on the collapse of Fannie and Freddie, and, in particular, the campaign contributions that Fannie and Freddie provided to leading Democratic members of Congress." But while Ambinder noted that "nowhere does the presentation mention the role of a bipartisan roster of lobbying firms, including McCain campaign manager Rick Davis's, in helping" Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and other government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), he did not point out that Charlie Black himself lobbied for Freddie Mac from 1999 to 2004.

Additionally, in publishing two of the slides Judy Black forwarded, Ambinder uncritically reported the PowerPoint's suggestion that Democrats were responsible for the fact that "Congress holds no hearings, no one goes to jail, or is punished" after an "OMB investigation" -- which, according to the full version of the PowerPoint, occurred in 2004 -- "finds massive fraudulent bookkeeping at Fannie Mae." Ambinder did not note that Republicans controlled both houses of Congress that year.

As Media Matters for America has documented, McCain campaign officials who have lobbied for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or both include: Black, national finance co-chairman Wayne Berman, congressional liaison John Green, Arthur Culvahouse, who reportedly headed McCain's vice-presidential search team, and William E. Timmons Sr., who reportedly "has been tapped by the McCain campaign to conduct a study in preparation for the presidential transition."

Ambinder's post, headlined "The Fannie/Freddie Talking Points Presentation":

Republicans are now heavily invested in blaming the Democrats' coddling of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for the subprime mortgage crisis. Here's Majority Leader John Boehner at a GOP fundraiser in Georgia: "It's not a failure of the free market what's going on in the economy today. The excesses of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and those who blocked the reforms that we wanted to make, really are the issue. ...This was a failure of government, not a failure of the free market. President Bush, Senator McCain, and many other Republicans tried over the last ten-to-fifteen years to fix this problem but to no avail."

Judy Black is a policy director (read: lead lobbyist) for Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck's DC arm. (Merrill Lynch was a client this year...) Black is also the wife of McCain strategist Charlie Black.

On Monday, Black forwarded to GOP lobbyists a Power Point presentation --

SHOTINTHEFANNIEMAE.PPS -- on the collapse of Fannie and Freddie, and, in particular, the campaign contributions that Fannie and Freddie provided to leading Democratic members of Congress. The theory is that, in the wake of the financial scandals of 2003, the GSEs became nervous and started to fudge their accounting in order to prove to politicians that they were solvent and well-maintained; but they weren't, and Democrats avoided Republican attempts to require that the GSEs keep larger capital reserves and more tightly regulate their packaging of securities. (Here's a contrarian voice.)

This power-point presentation -- not created by Black, btw -- has made the rounds and serves as the basis for Republican talking points on the issue.

Here are two of the slides:

* An OMB investigation finds massive fraudulent bookkeeping at Fannie Mae.
* False numbers triggered executive bonuses every year.
* Congress holds no hearings, no one goes to jail, or is punished.
* WHY NOT?

1999 -2005

* Fannie Mae gives millions to Democratic causes, examples: Jesse Jackson & ACORN.
* Fannie Mae pays millions to 354 congressmen and senators, from both parties.
* Who got the most money?

Top 4 Recipients

#1 Sen. Christopher Dodd, (D-CT) Chairman of the Banking, Housing, & Urban Affairs Committee
#2 Sen. Barack Obama, (D-IL)
Federal Financial Management Committee

Top 4 Recipients

#3 Sen. Chuck Schumer, (D-NY)
Chairman of the Finance Committee
#4 Rep. Barney Frank, (D-MA)

And

§ Franklin Raines is now an advisor to the Obama Campaign which wants the govt. to take over more of the economy.

§ Did government involvement in the mortgage market work out?

§ How will even MORE government involvement make it better? Do you want to be Sweden?

§ McCain favors revising regulations & loan standards, selling off Fannie & Freddie.

There's much left unsaid here and a few inaccuracies: Frank Raines isn't an adviser to the Obama campaign; Sen. Chuck Schumer is the chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, not the finance committee. Jamie Gorelick's name is mispelled; nowhere does the presentation mention the role of a bipartisan roster of lobbying firms, including McCain campaign manager Rick Davis's, in helping the GSEs.

I'm no expert on this, so I invite reader comments. Is it effective? Persuasive? Misleading?

Posted In
Economy, Housing
Network/Outlet
The Atlantic
Person
Marc Ambinder
Stories/Interests
John McCain, 2008 Elections
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