Newsweek: McCain’s campaign manager paid by Fannie and Freddie to do pretty much nothing

The implication being that McCain’s campaign manager, Rick Davis, was being paid money in order to keep him happy until McCain became president, and then Fannie and Freddie could call in favors. I’m sorry, but, if true, this story is corrupt as hell. It goes far beyond lobbying. We are talking about potentially buying someone off. And buying them off in order to buy John McCain:

But neither the Times story—nor the McCain campaign—revealed that Davis’s lobbying firm, Davis Manafort, based in Washington, D.C., continued to receive $15,000 a month from Freddie Mac until last month—long after the Homeownership Alliance had been terminated. The two sources, who requested anonymity discussing sensitive information, told NEWSWEEK that Davis himself approached Freddie Mac in 2006 and asked for a new consulting arrangement that would allow his firm to continue to be paid. The arrangement was approved by Hollis McLoughlin, Freddie Mac’s senior vice president for external relations, because “he [Davis] was John McCain’s campaign manager and it was felt you couldn’t say no,” said one of the sources. [McLoughlin did not return phone calls].

When asked about his own campaign manager’s associations with the mortgage giants, McCain, in an interview with CNBC Sunday night, said that Davis “has had nothing to do” with the Homeownship Alliance since it disbanded and “I’ll be glad to have his record examined by anybody who wants to look at it.” (The Homeownership Alliance was set up and funded by both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to promote the goal of home ownership and counter efforts to impose tighter regulations on the two federally sponsored entities.)

Davis, in a conference call arranged by the McCain campaign on Monday, said “it’s been over three years since there’s been any activity in this area and since I had any contact with those folks.” [NOTE FROM JOHN: 3 years would be October 2005 – this article says that’s a lie. ] Davis also said he “had a severed leave of absence” from his lobbying and consulting firm, and “I’ve taken no compensation from my firm for 18 months.” (A campaign spokesman said that Davis receives no partnership distribution under his arrangement).

It is not unusual for major corporations to enter into consulting retainers so that individuals could be available if needed. And the two sources stressed that Davis at no time made any threats or demands on Freddie Mac. But the sources indicated that Freddie Mac seldom called on Davis or the firm. On one occasion, Davis was asked to attend a meeting of the firm’s political action committee during the 2006 campaign in order to give the Republican Party’s perspective on the upcoming elections. In addition, Davis did meet with McLoughlin for breakfast on “one or two” occasions. Other than that, one source said, Davis “doesn’t do anything” for Freddie Mac. The firm “doesn’t even talk to him.” In addition, Freddie Mac has had no contact with Davis Manafort other than receiving monthly invoices from the firm and paying them. But the money could be perceived as helping Freddie Mac ensure a good relationship with one of McCain’s top aides in the event that he became president.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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