Opinion: Barack Obama largest recipient of political funds from mortgage giants Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae
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The federal takeover of mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae may stabilize the economy and help the housing industry.
But some politicians could take a hit too, most particularly Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.
Individuals who list their employers as one of the two entities, plus political action committees formed by the government-sponsored firms that own or guarantee half the nation’s mortgages, have donated $4.3 million to federal elected officials and their various campaign committees since 2005.
The money has gone to both Republicans and Democrats.
But Obama is the recipient of the largest individual money, at $111,849, according to federal campaign finance reports compiled by Times researcher Maloy Moore.
One reason Obama has raised the most from the entities is that he has out-raised all other candidates, $390 million so far and counting.
The mortgage money has not influenced Obama’s stands, Ben Labolt, a campaign aide asserted.
The candidate has “consistently supported stepped-up regulation for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to ensure that instead of....
...rewarding speculators who relied on the government to reap massive profits, taxpayers and struggling homeowners are protected,” Labolt said.
Republican nominee John McCain has taken $16,400 from Freddie and Fannie employees since 2005. But the groups have had an in with him. McCain campaign manager Rick Davis is past president of the Homeownership Alliance, an advocacy group whose members included Freddie and Fannie. In that role, he defended them against increased regulation.
Democratic and Republican committees set up to fund congressional and Senate races are the biggest recipients. Freddie PAC, Fannie PAC and their employees have given $171,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and $123,000 to the Republican Senate committee since 2005.
Other major individual recipients include House Republican Leader John Boehner and his political action committee, $71,750; Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell and his PAC, $62,500; and Senate leader Harry Reid and his PAC, $61,000.
Obama’s running mate, Joe Biden, brought up the rear during the period reviewed, receiving just one donation from one Freddie employee of $500. McCain’s running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, is Freddie- and Fannie-free, having never run for federal office.
-- Dan Morain