The Emanuel-Freddie Mac Connection: Will the Media Report It?
Now that he's President-elect Barack Obama's new chief of staff, according to various Nov. 6 media reports, will Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., face the same scrutiny Karl Rove did when he was named Bush's deputy chief of staff? More importantly, will the media take note the tie Emanuel had to the now taxpayer-owned, failed government-sponsored enterprise Freddie Mac?
Emanuel, who was a senior adviser for former President Bill Clinton throughout the 1990s, was appointed to the board of Freddie Mac upon his departure from the Clinton administration.
"Clinton's going-away gift to Emanuel was a seat on the quasi-governmental Freddie Mac board, which paid him $231,655 in director's fees in 2001 and $31,060 in 2000," Lynn Sweet wrote for the Chicago Sun-Times on Jan. 3, 2002.
During the time Emanuel spent on the board, Freddie Mac was plagued with scandal involving campaign contributions and accounting irregularities. Freddie Mac and its sister organization Fannie Mae were taken over by the federal government in September 2008 after years of mismanagement and scandal. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson put the two beleaguered GSEs into a conservatorship, stripping common stock shareholders of their rights to govern the companies.
In 2006, Freddie Mac was forced to pay a $3.8 million fine to the Federal Election Commission to settle allegations it illegally contributed to congressional candidates between 2000 and 2003 - while Emanuel was on the board and running for and serving in Congress.
And, since his successful run for the House of Representatives in 2002, Emanuel has been the beneficiary of campaign cash from Freddie Mac and its sister organization Fannie Mae - $51,750 according to the Center for Responsive Politics Web site OpenSecrets.org.
Emanuel received $25,000 in contributions from Freddie Mac during his first run in 2002, right at the end of his tenure at the government-sponsored enterprise. Freddie Mac was his third largest overall contributor that year.