This Fish Stinks

Seems as thought Rahm Emanuel had a lengthy, lucrative, and shady involvement with Freddie Mac, one of the financial institutions that was arguably a main catalyst for the current economic meltdown.

Some highlights from a fantastic Chicago Tribune investigaton:

  • One of those allegedly asleep-at-the-switch board members was Chicago’s Rahm Emanuel–now chief of staff to President Barack Obama–who made at least $320,000 for a 14-month stint at Freddie Mac that required little effort.
  • Though just 49, Emanuel is a veteran Democratic strategist and fundraiser who served three terms in the U.S. House after helping elect Mayor Richard Daley and former President Bill Clinton. The Freddie Mac money was a small piece of the $16 million he made in a three-year interlude as an investment banker a decade ago.
  • He was named to the Freddie Mac board in February 2000 by Clinton, whom Emanuel had served as White House political director and vocal defender during the Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky scandals.
  • Immediately upon joining the board, Emanuel and other new directors qualified for $380,000 in stock and options plus a $20,000 annual fee, records indicate.
  • On Emanuel’s watch, the board was told by executives of a plan to use accounting tricks to mislead shareholders about outsize profits the government-chartered firm was then reaping from risky investments. The goal was to push earnings onto the books in future years, ensuring that Freddie Mac would appear profitable on paper for years to come and helping maximize annual bonuses for company brass.
  • Freddie Mac reported recently that it lost $50 billion in 2008. It so far has tapped $14 billion of the government’s guarantee and said it soon will need an additional $30 billion to keep operating.
  • Financial disclosure statements that are required of U.S. House members show Emanuel made at least $320,000 from his time at Freddie Mac. Two years after leaving the firm, Emanuel reported an additional sale of Freddie Mac stock worth between $100,001 and $250,000. The document did not detail whether he profited from the sale.
  • …proxy statements that detailed committee assignments showed none for Emanuel, Free or Ickes during the time they served in 2000 or 2001. Most other directors carried two committee assignments each.
  • The Obama administration rejected a Tribune request under the Freedom of Information Act to review Freddie Mac board minutes and correspondence during Emanuel’s time as a director. The documents, obtained by Falcon for his investigation, were “commercial information” exempt from disclosure, according to a lawyer for the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
  • Emanuel’s board term expired in May 2001, and soon after he launched his Democratic congressional bid.
  • Emanuel’s primary contribution was explaining to others on the board how to play the levers of power.
  • By the time Emanuel joined Freddie Mac, the company had begun to loosen lending standards and buy riskier sub-prime loans. It was a practice that later blew up and contributed to the current foreclosure crisis.
  • Another focus of Freddie during Emanuel’s day–and one that played to his skill set–was a stepped-up effort to combat congressional demands for more regulation.
  • Freddie Mac sponsored more than 80 fundraisers that raised at least $1.7 million for congressional candidates despite a federal law that bans corporations from direct political activity.
  • Then-Freddie Mac CEO Leland Brendsel also hosted a fundraising lunch for Emanuel’s 2002 campaign that netted $9,500 from top company executives. Brendsel was later ousted in the accounting scandal.
  • Federal campaign records show that Emanuel received $25,000 from donors with ties to Freddie Mac in the 2002 campaign cycle, more than twice the amount collected that election by any other candidate for the U.S. House or Senate.
  • Emanuel joined the House in January 2003 and was named to the Financial Services Committee, where he also sat on the subcommittee that directly oversaw Freddie Mac. A few months later, Freddie Mac Chief Executive Officer Leland Brendsel was forced out, and the committee and subcommittee launched hearings to sort out the mess, spanning more than a year. Emanuel skipped every hearing, congressional records indicate.

I don’t see any ACORN members protesting outside of Mr. Emanuel’s house, demanding retribution for his financial windfall from Freddie Mac.

It is obvious B.Hussein Obama has no problem with the fact that this charlatan made $16 million as an investment banker. You know, the kinds of people who are now vilified for what they do with other people’s money?

PLEASE go read the entire article.

The Chicago Tribune did an outstanding job of investigating and reporting what it found.

Me thinks this is the tip of a very large, odious iceberg.

While You Weren't Looking Round Up