Freddie Mac Didn't Pay $300K for History Lectures

Written by David Frum on Thursday November 10, 2011

In the obsequies over the Perry candidacy, let's not overlook this audacious moment from the debate: Newt Gingrich's breathtaking assertion that Freddie Mac paid him $300,000 for a lecture he gave "as a historian" about how they should forthwith cease their business practices.

Turns out, that's not quite how it happened. From the AP:

The records obtained by the AP reflect growing concern within Freddie Mac over a chorus of criticism from Republicans worried that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae had grown too big. The two companies owned or guaranteed over $5 trillion in mortgages.

The Bush administration and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan were sounding the alarm about the potential threat to the nation's financial health if the fortunes of the two mammoth companies turned sour. They did eventually, when they took on $1 trillion worth of sub-prime mortgages and when their traditional guarantee business deteriorated. Commercial banks regarded Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae as competitors and were anxious to pick up business that would result from scaling back the two companies.

Pushing back, Freddie Mac enlisted prominent conservatives, including Gingrich and former Justice Department official Viet Dinh, paying each $300,000 in 2006, according to internal records.

Gingrich talked and wrote about what he saw as the benefits of the Freddie Mac business model.

Let the record further show that it was ultra-RINO John McCain who was on the right side of the issue.