That Obama’s chief of staff Rahm Emanuel made $320,000 during a brief stint at Freddie Mac is well known. Back in the halcyon days, before it blew up, that was the place where a lot of Clinton-folk went to get rich.
But what might (not) surprise is that Emanuel was basically just there to collect a paycheck. He didn’t actually, you know, do anything. At least according to a Chicago Tribune report:
The board met no more than six times a year. Unlike most fellow directors, Emanuel was not assigned to any of the board’s working committees, according to company proxy statements. Immediately upon joining the board, Emanuel and other new directors qualified for $380,000 in stock and options plus a $20,000 annual fee, records indicate.
On Emanuel’s watch, the board was told by executives of a plan to use accounting tricks to mislead shareholders about outsize profits the government-chartered firm was then reaping from risky investments. The goal was to push earnings onto the books in future years, ensuring that Freddie Mac would appear profitable on paper for years to come and helping maximise annual bonuses for company brass. Read the whole thing >
While AIG is the source of so much rage, you could make an argument that Fannie and Freddy are much more galling. Not only have they burned through as much bailout capital as AIG, they were the ultimate monarch-patronage institutions, places where the well-connected could get rich for doing nothing but ruin the economy with the implicit backing of the taxpayer.