WASHINGTON - Two congressmen said at a hearing Tuesday that Fannie Mae may have fabricated grass-roots opposition to a bill to tighten regulation of Fannie and other government-sponsored enterprises.
Reps. Donald Manzullo, R-Ill., and John E. Sweeney, R-N.Y., said that they had received boxes of letters from their constituents opposing the bill. But when he followed up, Rep. Manzullo said, he learned that some people had thought they were agreeing to support the bill on behalf of a nonprofit housing coalition - not Fannie Mae. He added that some others whose signatures appeared on the letters never lived at the addresses indicated.
Franklin Raines, chairman and chief executive officer of Fannie Mae, who was a witness at the hearing, said the company was up-front in identifying itself when it urged people to write their representatives.