Obama's Pick to Oversee Fannie and Freddie Has Deep Ties to Banks

Rep. Melvin Watt, D-N.C., has been nominated by President Obama to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees the quasi-governmental mortage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. If confirmed for the position, Watt would be responsible for making decisions regarding the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which were taken into conservatorship in 2009. One key question facing the FHFA right now is whether to allow struggling mortgage borrowers in the private market to refinance with a reduced principal through Fannie and Freddie.

Watt's congressional district includes the headquarters of Bank of America, and he has raised large sums for his campaign from BofA and other banks with interests in the mortgage market, including JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Citigroup.

Data: MapLight analysis of campaign contributions to House member Melvin Watt from January 1, 2007—December 31, 2012. Contributions data source: OpenSecrets.org.

  • The banks and credit industry, which includes commercial banks and bank holding companies, has given $227,750 to Melvin Watt, more than any other industry.

Methodology: MapLight analysis of campaign contributions to Melvin Watt from January 1, 2007—December 31, 2012. Contributions data source: OpenSecrets.org.

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