Daily Archives: November 17, 2011

Mac ‘n Sleaze

From John Cassidy at THE NEW YORKER:

Take the ludicrous suggestion that Freddie Mac, the smaller of the two government-sponsored mortgage giants, may have expected Newt to do some lobbying on its behalf when, in 2006, it paid him the very modest sum of $300,000. Any fair-minded person would agree that Newt quashed this idea during one of last week’s debates. He explained that Freddie’s executives hired him for his expertise as a historian, adding that he warned them to stop lending money to folks who couldn’t repay their loans. In Newt’s own words: “My advice as a historian, when they walked in and said to me, ‘We are now making loans to people who have no credit history and have no record of paying back anything, but that’s what the government wants us to do.’ As I said to them at the time, this is a bubble. This is insane. This is impossible.”

That explanation was more than good enough for me. But darn it if a couple of quibbling scribblers from Bloomberg News didn’t put out a report yesterday, quoting former executives of Freddie Mac saying that Newt was hired “to build bridges to Capitol Hill Republicans and develop an argument on behalf of the company’s public-private structure that would resonate with conservatives seeking to dismantle it.”

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