When I learned that my Congressman Henry Waxman, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, was holding hearings this week on Lehman Brothers and AIG, I decided to call his office to see if he was looking into problems at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
His aide, incredibly helpful and polite, told me that his committee has “jurisdiction over anything in the federal government.”Â Fannie and Freddie are government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs).Â But, since Waxman took over the committee in 2007, he has not held a single hearing into their meltdown.Â Not one.
Politely, I asked his aide to tell the Congressman that this was a “gross dereliction of duty.”Â It seems that for Henry Waxman, the only problems in this country are private enterprise and Republicans.
Fannie and Freddie were among the first to fall.Â They’ve been having problems for years.Â And the Democratic Chairman of the House Oversight Committeee has yet to look into their role in the current financial mess.
UPDATE: I wonder if it came out in Waxman’s hearings that Obama raised more money from Lehman employees than any other Senator save Hillary Clinton.
UP-UPDATE:Â Waxman may want to dodge the issue, but at least one Republican, Connecticut’s Chris Shays wants to look into the GSEs shenanigans:
Republican Rep. Chris Shays called for hearings on the role of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the financial crisis Monday, accusing the two mortgage companies of â€œwretched manipulationâ€ of Congress.
â€œWe are not confronting the 800 pound gorilla in roomâ€¦the role of Fannie and Freddie in this debacle,â€ said Shays at a congressional hearing on the financial crisis.
Shays wondered why Democrats will target Wall Street firms during their planned set of hearings, but not Fannie and Freddie, who he said offered the type of subprime loans that helped trigger the crisis.
(Via Jennifer Rubin).