The McCain camp is hitting one of Obama’s veep hunters, Jim Johnson, for his seemingly sweet loans from Countrywide Financial Corp.
Jim Johnson, A Former CEO Of Fannie Mae Chosen To Lead Obama’s Vice Presidential Search Committee, Received Special Loans From Countrywide Financial CEO Angelo Mozilo. “Countrywide Financial Corp. makes mortgage loans through a vast network of offices, brokers and call centers. But a few customers have gotten their loans a special way: through Countrywide Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo. These borrowers, known internally as ‘friends of Angelo’ or FoA, include two former CEOs of Fannie Mae, the biggest buyer of Countrywide’s mortgages, say people familiar with the matter. One was James Johnson, a longtime Democratic Party power and an adviser to Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign, who this past week was named to a panel that is vetting running-mate possibilities for the presumed nominee.” (Glenn R. Simpson and James R. Hagerty, “Countrywide Friends Got Good Loans,” The Wall Street Journal, 6/7/08)
• While CEO Of Fannie Mae, Johnson And Mozilo Worked Closely And Maintained A “Close Friendship.” “From 1991 to 1998, Mr. Johnson served as CEO of the Federal National Mortgage Association, also known as Fannie Mae, which worked closely with Countrywide, one of the nation’s leading lenders and loan servicing companies. In 1996, Mr. Johnson named Mr. Mozilo as chairman of Fannie Mae’s national advisory council. A 1999 article in the American Banker said the two men had a ‘close friendship.’” (Josh Gerstein, “Top Talent Scout For Obama Tied To Subprime Lender,” The New York Sun, 6/9/08)
They note Obama’s chief strategist, David Axelrod, criticized his counterpart with Hillary, Mark Penn, for working with Countrywide.
David Axelrod: “She’s stuck him with him through the revelation that his firm was working for Blackwater and working for Countrywide, and, you know, so, it’s kind of stunning. Remember that the embassy said they weren’t sure whether he was there as a representative of his firm or a representative of Senator Clinton. I mean, I think there are issues associated with this. I’m not – you can use the word hypocrisy, but there are certainly questions that arise from this.” (MSNBC’s “Countdown,” 4/7/08)
Here’s the thing… Johnson made $21 million in one year from Fannie-Mae, a quasi-private corporation that enjoys a massive subsidy of taxpayers’ money.
Obama repeatedly complains about CEOs making more in ten minutes than most workers make in a year, calling it a “moral deficit.” If Johnson worked the standard 40 hour week for 52 weeks that year, he had an hourly rate of $10,096.15.
Salaries at Fannie Mae vary quite a bit, it seems, but it appears that Johnson had to work about five hours to equal the annual salary of a securities analyst, or just under twelve hours to equal the annual salary of an IT project manager. (No word on what the janitors, groundskeepers/facilities management and secretaries made there…)
Really, if making anywhere from 175 to 412 times the salary of your worker is an unacceptable “moral deficit” to Obama, it’s not clear why he would tolerate it on his running mate search team…