March 27, 2009

HMM: Freddie Mac’s Duel With Regulator: Does It Report Government’s Role in Its Losses?

That would spoil the narrative. But somebody should ask Rahm Emanuel about this . . . . Here’s a choice bit, though:

When Freddie Mac’s executives concluded a few weeks ago that they had to disclose that the government’s management of the McLean company was undermining its profitability and would cost it tens of billions of dollars, the firm’s regulator urged it not to do so, according to several sources familiar with the matter.

Freddie Mac executives refused to bend. The clash grew so severe that they threatened to go to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which oversees corporate disclosures, to secure a ruling that the regulator’s request was out of line. The company’s regulator backed down, the sources said.

Remember, when a private company wants to cover up billions in losses and the responsibility for them, that’s a major scandal and proof of the evils of capitalism. But when a government regulator does the same thing, that’s just how people are, these things happen, whaddyagonnado? Plus, more evidence that the country’s in the very best of hands:

After the companies were taken over, investors around the world who buy the companies’ debt and mortgage investments weren’t willing to pay top dollar, reflecting doubts about whether the U.S. government would stand behind the firms if they faltered further. As a result, mortgage rates initially rose, further depressing house prices, contrary to what the government intended when it took over the firms.

Then, earlier this month Freddie Mac lost its chief executive, longtime banker David Moffett, who joined the company at the government’s behest in September. He clashed with government regulators who pushed him to take steps that would forgo revenue opportunities. Freddie Mac is now looking for a new chief executive, chief operating officer and chief financial officer — and having trouble finding them.

Gee, why would a business that the government has taken over and mismanaged have trouble recruiting fall guys senior executives in this political climate?

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