Our Media… Connecting the dots?

Here’s what the media isn’t telling you — and I may have even stumbled onto who’s controlling the media to boot…

While the fingers are being pointed back and forth from one political party to another I’m going to take the opportunity to point out a few things you may not know. I can’t stand by and listen to what’s going on without comment.

Although this is a LONG post  – I’ll be pointing out Obama’s stance on Fannie Mae; Obama’s connection with James Johnson; Johnsons surprising associations with other organizations (including the media); and finally where McCain stood regarding Fannie Mae which may surprise you.

I’ll try to highlight different areas, should you prefer to scan to that area of interest rather than read the post in it’s entirety.

The 47-year-old Senator Obama, who has campaigned with a call to “change”, has vowed to reject all contributions from lobbyists and to rid politics of corruption and self-interest.

In Obama’s short career with the US Senate, he was the 2nd largest recipient of “donations” from Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac. Sen. Clinton is reported to be third.

As an untarnished newcomer who has vowed to clean up Washington politics, Obama secured Mr. James Johnson, a former chief executive of mortgage giant Fannie Mae. Johnson led the hunt for the vice presidential search back in June when “the” scandal broke. Johnson was apparently receiving favourable treatment for his home loan from Countrywide Financial while at Fannie Mae – a bank Senator Obama had sharply criticised for its role in the sub-prime lending crisis.

Obama “called Countrywide Financial Corp., the biggest U.S. mortgage company, an example of what’s wrong in today’s economy and a political culture dominated by corporate lobbyists.”

Senator Obama said in a statement that Mr Johnson had resigned his campaign because he “did not want to distract in any way from the very important task of gathering information about my vice presidential nominee“.

Johnson is a strong Obama supporter who has personally donated the maximum $4,600 to his 2008 Presidential campaign, as well as $1,000 to Obama’s Senate campaign in 2004.

In addition to personal donations, Johnson is a bundler of the Obama campaign, raising between $200,000 and $500,000.

An Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight  (OFHEO) report from September 2004 found that, during Johnson’s tenure as CEO, Fannie Mae had improperly deferred $200 million in expenses. This enabled top executives, including Johnson and his successor, Franklin Raines, to receive substantial bonuses in 1998. (Raines will be addressed on this site soon)

In harsher terms Fannie Mae’s earnings were manipulated, which resulted In “maximum payouts” to executives Including CEO Jim Johnson. In other words – they cooked the books.

A 2006 OFHEO report found that Fannie Mae had substantially under-reported Johnson’s compensation. Originally reported as $6-7 million, Johnson actually received approximately $21 million.

Companies James Johnson is associated with

ZymoGenetics, Inc.,
Biotechnology (ZGEN, NYSE)
Chief Financial Officer, Principal Accounting Officer, Executive Vice President and Treasurer


Forestar Real Estate Group Inc (2007-Present)
Property Management (FOR, NYSE)
Director, Chairman of Management Development & Executive Compensation Committee and Member of Executive Committee

Gannett Co., Inc., 2000-Present *
Leading international news and information company (
Former Director

Temple-Inland Inc., 2000-Present
Manufacture of corrugated packaging and building products (TIN, NYSE)
Former Director, Chairman of Management Development & Executive Compensation Committee and Member of Executive Committee

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., 1999-Present
Global investment banking, securities and investment management firm (GS, NYSE)
Director, Chairman of Compensation Committee, Member of Audit Committee and Member of Corporate Governance & Nominating Committee

Target Corp., 1996-Present
General merchandise and food discount stores (TGT, NYSE)
Lead Director, Chairman of Compensation Committee, Chairman of Corporate Governance Committee, Member of Executive Committee and Member of Corporate Responsibility Committee

Unitedhealth Group, Inc., 1993-Present
Four operating divisions: Health Care Services, OptumHealth, Ingenix and Prescription Solutions (UNH, NYSE)
Former Director, Chairman of Independent Committee, Chairman of Public Policy Strategies & Responsibility Committee and Member of Audit Committee

KB Home, 1992-Present
Builder of single-family homes, townhomes and condominiums (KBH, NYSE)
Former Director

The Brookings Institution, Honorary Trustee

Perseus, L.L.C., Vice Chairman

University of Minnesota Foundation, Trustee

John F. Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts, Chairman Emeriti

KB Home/Shaw Louisiana LLC, Director

Cummins Inc., KB Home, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Gannett Co., Inc., The Brookings Institution, Perseus, L.L.C., Temple-Inland Inc., University of Minnesota Foundation, John F. Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts, Fannie Mae, Unitedhealth Group, Inc., Target Corp., Targeted Genetics Corp., University of Washington, Forestar Real Estate Group Inc., KB Home/Shaw Louisiana LLC

What isn’t being publicized is how McCain co-sponsored a bill that was introduced January 26, 2005 called The Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005. (S.190 / 109th session).

It was a bill “to address the regulation of secondary mortgage market enterprises, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.”

The bill wasn’t met with any enthusiasm.

Legislative comments on pages s599 and s600 on record in part said:

(Sen Hagel speaks)…

This is needed regulatory reform at a critical time … . In 2003, Freddie Mac found itself treading through a wave of accounting problems and questionable management actions. That led to an income restatement of $5 billion, a penalty of $125 million and the removal of several members of its executive management. One year later, a similar surge of questionable practices was discovered at Fannie Mae. That led to the retirement and resignation of two of Fannie Mae’s top management officials, as well as last month’s ruling by the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, that Fannie could face a $9 billion income restatement.

S. 190

I urge everyone to go read the complete records on file.

*The Associated Press (AP) is a not-for-profit cooperative, which means it is owned by its 1,500 U.S. daily newspaper members. They elect a board of directors that direct the cooperative. Of the (roughly) twenty-two board members — Gannett Co., Inc. is one the board of members. Gannett is one of the largest and most influential media companies in the United States.


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