Freddie Mac Interrogates Itself

U.S. mortgage giant Freddie Mac, now under government control and receiving federal aid, is conducting an internal investigation into its $2 million "stealth lobbying campaign." Freddie Mac hired the Covington & Burling law firm to conduct the investigation, which is being headed by former Justice Department prosecutor Stephen Anthony. At issue is its campaign, begun in 2005, to kill a proposal by then-Senator Chuck Hagel to increase regulation of Freddie Mac and its sister lender, Fannie Mae. Freddie Mac hired the Republican lobbying and PR firm DCI Group for the campaign. DCI "did not file lobbying reports" on the contract, and Freddie Mac executives referred to it as their "stealth lobbying campaign." In 2006, the mortgage giant also made "six-figure payments to 52 outside lobbying firms and political consultants," including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Senator Alfonse D'Amato. It's not clear how much Freddie Mac is spending on the investigation, reports the Associated Press, "or whether it is spending any federal bailout money on the internal probe."