Bloomberg News WASHINGTON - Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's regulator has backed away from accusations that the companies lobbied a House panel last week to cut the agency's budget request.
Last Tuesday a House Appropriations subcommittee cut the budget request of the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight 17% to $22 million. Armando Falcon Jr., the office's director, blamed the cut on "political maneuverings" of the mortgage giants. Elizabeth Morra, spokeswoman for the House Appropriations Committee, called Mr. Falcon's allegations "outrageous."
"Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have not spoken to our chairman or our staff about this issue," she said, referring to the subcommittee chaired by Rep. James Walsh, R-N.Y. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the No. 1 and No. 2 mortgage repurchasers, both denied they lobbied to cut the agency's budget.
Mr. Falcon issued a statement Thursday to calm the waters. "I do not want my previous comments in any way to call into question the integrity of Chairman Walsh, the subcommittee, or its staff," Falcon said. He said Walsh and the panel have supported his office. "I believe it when I am told that the subcommittee acted solely on policy grounds and not in response to lobbying pressure."