A news report
that Fannie Mae General Counsel Brian Brooks allegedly violated the federal prohibition on lobbying by the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) provoked a furious response from Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.
According to a May 18 Bloomberg article
, Brooks has reportedly held meetings within Executive Branch agencies arguing that the best route for ending the federal conservatorship of the GSEs would come if the White House and the Federal Housing Finance Agency took unilateral action that did not involve Congress. The Bloomberg article cited anonymous sources, and a Fannie Mae spokesperson quoted in the article denied any lobbying was taking place and added it was up to Congress to enact GSE reform.
For his part, Hensarling expressed disappointment that the appearance of lobbying by a Fannie Mae executive was taking place.
“If true, this violation is more than an outrage, it is a direct affront on taxpayers and the current structure of the federally-back conservatorship that has allowed Fannie Mae to operate for the last decade,” he said in a statement. “It is a slap in the face of taxpayers that Fannie Mae thinks it can take their money and blatantly ignore the rules that came with it. The American people deserve better.”
Hensarling also stated that his committee planned to launch “a full investigation into these allegations to identify those responsible and hold them accountable to taxpayers,” adding that it was incumbent upon Congress to “enact sustainable housing finance reform as soon as possible and once and for all get rid of any backdoor attempts to resurrect the old, failed ways of the past.”