Romney and Fannie and Freddie: Oh My!

Mitt Romney.<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/mittromney/6069980831/in/photostream">Mitt Romney</a>/Flickr

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Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney likes to slam Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-run housing giants that he claims triggered the recent housing meltdown. (They didn’t.) But what Romney isn’t letting on, the Boston Globe reports, is that at the same time he’s ripped Fannie and Freddie, he has also raked in cash from personal investments in the two companies, which the federal government took over in September 2008.

Here’s the Globe:

On his financial disclosure statement filed last month, Romney reported owning between $250,001 and $500,000 in a mutual fund that invests in debt notes of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, among other government entities. Over the previous year, he had reported earning between $15,001 and $50,000 in interest from those investments.

And unlike most of Romney’s financial holdings, which are held in a blind trust that is overseen by a trustee and not known to Romney, this particular investment was among those that would have been known to Romney.

The investment was also not on Romney’s 2007 financial disclosure form. A Romney aide said the investments were made in the latter half of 2007, after he had filed the earlier disclosure form. That was around the time that the scale of the housing crisis was coming into focus.

The campaign declined to comment on the record. The Romney aide said the investment was made by Romney’s charitable trust.

A spokesman for American Bridge, the liberal opposition research group that pulled together Romney’s financial records, said the candidate’s Fannie and Freddie investments show that Romney’s “hypocrisy knows no limits.”

The Globe also notes that the fund containing Romney’s Fannie and Freddie funds also included investments in Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, and JPMorgan Chase. If Romney invested in those banks in the second half of 2007, as a campaign aide says he did, then Romney’s investments benefited from the federal bailout of those banks, which received tens of billions of dollars to stay afloat.

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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