Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bad Barney Behavior?

Yesterday I caught part of NPR's "Fresh Air." The show's guest was Gretchen Morgenson, who's co-authored a book called "Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon."

Nothing like hearing about Greed and Corruption to get the Blood Boiling.

I moved from anger to surprise when Morgenson, explaining how mortgage giant Fannie Mae took care of congressmen on the House Financial Services Committee, singled out Barney Frank.

"Back in 1991, when Congress was writing the legislation that would, you know, enhance or improve the oversight of Fannie Mae, or so they thought, Frank actually called up the company and asked them to hire his companion, who had just gotten an MBA."

I shudder to think what he'd have asked for if his boyfriend had gotten a Ph.D.

Fannie Mae did hire the guy. Morgenson said she asked Frank whether this had "put him in a conflicted spot." He said no, that he hadn't been much involved with the 1992 legislation.

"But the record shows that he was very aggressive and really tough on those who were testifying in Congress about reining in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. He was very aggressive to, for instance, the head of the Congressional Budget Office at that time, who was trying to call for increased capital requirements and to call for a focus on safety and soundness at Fannie Mae, that Frank really took him apart in testimony," said Morgenson.

Well. We shall see if any of this causes trouble now for the gay congressman from Massachusetts. That man never has a dull moment.