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Fannie and Freddie Drop Convention Party Sponsorship (Sort Of)

Under intense scrutiny, mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have decided to remove their companies' respective names from the invitations to posh industry receptions at the Democratic and Republican national conventions.

As the Sleuth reported on July 18, Fannie and Freddie were among the sponsors of parties in Denver, where the Democrats will be gathering, and in Minneapolis, where the Republicans will be holding their nominating convention. But under fire from fiscal conservatives and others, the mortgage companies have decided it probably wouldn't be the best PR strategy to put their names to a lavish party where housing industry lobbyists get to cozy up to members of Congress who just this week approved a massive rescue plan for the taxpayer-funded mortgage companies.

After failing to return repeated calls for comment about the party, Fannie Mae released a statement Thursday: "We will no longer be participating in the housing industry receptions at the conventions, but will fulfill our previous financial commitment," said Fannie Mae spokeswoman Amy Bonitatibus.

So while they will not be named sponsors, as Bonitatibus notes, Fannie and Freddie will still be bellying up to the bar, so to speak, with their pocketbooks and wallets. Both still plan to help pay for the housing industry parties, even if their names will no longer be appearing on the invitations cocktail napkins.

Doug Duvall, a spokesman at Freddie Mac, told Fox business correspondent Adam Shapiro that while it will still pay for the receptions, "Freddie Mac will not have a presence at the conventions."

Asked how much the company is spending to ghost host the parties, Duvall told Shapiro, "We won't disclose that. Why should we?"

By Washington Post editors  |  July 24, 2008; 5:50 PM ET
 
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