Early Briefing: Ex-Fannie CEO and the Veepstakes

*Last month, Sen. Barack Obama turned to James A. Johnson, a former Fannie Mae chief executive and Washington insider since the Carter administration, to lead the vetting of potential running mates for the Democratic Party's presumptive presidential nominee.

But four years before, as Johnson was angling for a job if Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) was elected president, Fannie Mae did some vetting of its own. Company executives had grown so worried about the lucrative consulting deal they had cut with their former CEO they considered enlisting an outside investigator to comb through the deal, "in light of issues that could come up during Senate confirmation ..... or White House review of the consulting contract," according to company documents unearthed by federal regulators.

Questions about Johnson began after the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday that he received more than $2 million in home loans that might have been below average market rates from Countrywide Financial, a partner of Fannie Mae and leading purveyor of the kind of subprime mortgages that spawned a national housing crisis.

Responding to questions about that story yesterday, Obama said: "I am not vetting my VP Search Committee for their mortgages. These aren't folks who are working for me. They're not people who I have assigned to a particular job in a future administration."

*Today, a new place to get $4 prescriptions on hundreds of generic drugs: Safeway. It's following in the footsteps of the program popularized by Wal-Mart two years ago.

Drugs including the antibiotic amoxicillin, blood pressure medication atenolol and levothyroxine for thyroid disease are available for $4 at stores in the District, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey. In the Washington region, about 83 of Safeway's 110 stores have pharmacies.

*Summit Financial Group has agreed to a revamped deal to buy Reston-based Greater Atlantic Financial. Greater Atlantic agreed to a takeover in April 2007 but terminated that deal a year later.

Summit, based in Moorefield, W.Va., says buying the small bank will expand its presence in existing markets along Interstate 81 and in Loudon County and add potential new markets in Northern Virginia and Maryland. Terms of the deal will be determined through a formula based on the company's share prices just before closing and other factors.

*Stanley said it agreed to buy Oberon Associates for about $170 million in cash. Oberon, of Manassas, provides engineering, intelligence operations and information technology services, and Arlington-based Stanley provides technology and professional services for the federal government,

The deal is expected to close during Stanley's fiscal second quarter, which ends Sept. 30, and is subject to the approval of Oberon shareholders and other conditions.

*Business advisory firm FTI Consulting of Baltimore said it plans to buy Attenex for about $88 million in cash. The deal, which is expected to close in the third quarter, will add to earnings in 2009, the company said.

Seattle-based Attenex, which had revenue of about $25 million in 2007, provides software that automates data processing and provides visualization tools for analyzing massive amounts of electronically stored information. Attenex helps corporations and their law firms comply with regulatory requests and internal investigations.

*Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will have to change the way they account for foreclosed property costs under a new rule adopted by regulators. District-based Fannie Mae and McLean-based Freddie Mac have been booking profits when they should be recording losses on some single-family and federally backed mortgages, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight said. The rule, which takes effect when published in the Federal Register, will probably force the companies to increase regulatory capital reserves, according to OFHEO.

*The Washington Post Co. said costs to cut jobs will be about $80 million and most of the expenses will be recorded in the second quarter. Funding to cover the voluntary employee buyouts will come primarily from assets of the company's pension plans, The Post said yesterday in a regulatory filing.

By Terri Rupar  |  June 11, 2008; 5:00 AM ET  | Category:  Morning Brief
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What are Fannie Mae employees being offered in the most recent voluntary retirement buyout offer?

Posted by: Bill | June 11, 2008 11:35 AM

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