WASHINGTON Fannie Maes chief executive on Wednesday repeated his assertion that the company did not threaten several large lenders for their involvement with the lobbying group FM Watch and questioned the need for a congressional investigation that some are demanding.
We have done the inquiries necessary to stand behind our absolute denial of any lender intimidation, Franklin Raines said at a briefing called to discuss Fannie Maes $2 trillion commitment to expand homeownership.
In the absence of anything more than press spin, we will wait for evidence that goes beyond the fact that FM Watch was disintegrating and they wanted to change the subject. He added that investigation is too strong a word to be invoked in the current controversy.
Washington-based FM Watch is opposed to the expanding influence of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and appears to be in jeopardy of disbanding.
Mr. Raines also addressed recent disclosures by Warren E. Buffett that his company, Berkshire Hathaway, had sold most of its Fannie Mae shares last year.
Unless Mr. Buffett sold at the very end of the year, Mr. Raines said, it was a very bad idea. After trading close to $50 early last year and reaching a low of $48.88 on Aug. 2, Fannies stock rose steadily, nearing $88 in late December. Shares traded at $75.2 mid-Wednesday, a drop of a little more than 1%.