Who is getting what from who?
When I was an active Fannie lobbyist, the affordable housing crowd consistently would rally around and lend their numbers one to another on issues they all supported.
“If we didn’t hang together, we all could hang separately.”
Inherently, we all grasped Ben Franklin’s prescience and mortal warning.
I am sure many don’t realize it but Mr. Franklin's words have graced the front page of every blog I’ve put out (at the top of the page).
That approach collectivity served the “housers” well and you often would see, pro-housing advocacy letters sent to Congress or the White House signed by 20 or more, prominent industry or social /social interest allies, indicating solidarity among those supporting the shelter needy.
But if the rumors from inside the community are true, something is amiss.
A cadre of spoilers, suddenly enthralled, again, with the work of ex-Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) are trying to revive Corker’s failed approach to fixing Fannie and Freddie, his “Jump Start” legislative proposal.—which I think went down in Senate flames when its original GOP sponsors offered “no mandatory affordable housing support” in their bill—seem to be stirring the ashes and seeking revived support for it from current SBC Senators Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.), Mike Crapo (R-Id.), and others.
Someone in DC always is trying to take advantage of low-income interests and screw them.
The handy victims are presumed to be malleable, unsophisticated, and easy to con or fool, and—invariably—people of color, who have every right to feel marginalized when put through that wringer, again, this time by faux friends.
Happens all of the time but it is more heinous when some of the perpetrators have a history as low mod friends, activists, and advocates themselves. Then, it becomes a three-level game of “who is easiest to fool,” a contest where the rules keep changing.
At these stressful times, you will discover situational friends with their own personal agenda--who decide they can shuck the rest of their traditional allies--will tell Members of Congress and their staffs whatever they want about the issues they’re pitching because those Hill types don’t understand the substance let alone nuance behind the tales they are being fed.
The entire DC Fannie/Freddie GSE scene is confusing enough, with delayed Admin promises to end Conservatorships and various no-win campaigns backing old, losing GSE schemes touted by mainly bad guys threatened by Mnuchin and Calabria and the results of the Fifth Circuit Court.
For the past six months Treasury’s possessed a solid plan to achieve that transition, given impetus by a fresh a Fifth Circuit plaintiffs’ decision--which added political cover--and a new GSE regulator, stumbling as he may be and announcing, unrealistically, his lack of fear in “wiping out all GSE investors.”
Some of what I am describing in the previous paragraphs are continued efforts from the still- seeking-relevancy “fellow travelers” of yesteryear, Obama-ites Mark Zandi and Jim Parrott and their current posse, shilling for legislative ideas from former Senator Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) and his ex-staffer, former Countrywide trader, Milliken Institute, Ginnie Mae ship- jumping Michael Bright, who landed not at the top of Ginnie—since his nomination never got sufficient support—yet earlier this year was named CEO of the Structured Finance Industry Group.
Reportedly, other pro-Head Start advocates working the case are Mike Calhoun, prominent houser and President of CRL the, Corporation for Responsible Lending and Eric Stein, CRL alum and recent aide to Mel Watt (Mark Calabria’s Democrat predecessor). With Stein, reportedly, now headed to the Milken Institute.
The current story is the tricksters have been stirring up trouble among Hill denizens and low-income groups, trying to resurrect the old Corker “Jump Start” bill, and trigger a fights/ disunion between Calabria/FHFA (now the interim “good guys”) and those who read differently the affordable housing tea leaves.
I can’t begin to divine all of the conflicting agendas of these identified principals, but first off—fearful of the recent progress the White House has made, these new opponents seek anything which slows down ending Conservatorship. In their minds, delay is good.
Pretty crappy show of support for the other affordable housing interests—who root for Conservatorship to end, “right *&^%$#@ now!”
Not to mention stabbing in the back the Fannie and Freddie senior staff which have sent lots of corporate financial support CRL’s way ($$$).
People on both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Hill know—because of the wide ideological gap between the respective Financial Services committees—no GSE common legislation can emerge in this Congress.
So, the mischief-makers go for a procedural halt, any dispute to gum up the process.
Ending conservatorship sits on uncertain ground, which delay hurts.
Worse, matters easily could be vaulted into 2020, slowed down by the quadrennial election and then, tied up, over the anticipated D or R challenges to those results and/or any legal challenges to FHFA’s Constitutional viabilities.
A Democrat presidential victory wipes out current Treasury leadership and possibly FHFA, too, depends on a legal decision as to the constitutional viability of FHFA.
But, why is CRL’s Mike Calhoun or anyone else in the low-mod housing community trying to frustrate the GSEs which just want to get back doing their previous excellent work in the neighborhoods?
What does he/CRL stand to gain?
Activists, question him; if he wants your support ask him to explain, exactly, why Bob Corker’s old legislation, never thoughtful or strategic, suddenly is? Be careful who you follow and for what you sign up. Make sure those “past friends”--who come a calling--hold your interests as high as they hold their own?