AUGUST 05, 2009
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Obama Department of Treasury to obtain documents concerning the taxpayer bailouts of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Through its lawsuit, filed on July 29, 2009, Judicial Watch seeks the following records:
a. Documents concerning the U.S. Government’s intervention (bailout, capital injection, conservatory formation, etc.) for Freddie Mac (records include but are not limited to legal framework, consideration and documentation of foreign investors’ concerns, correspondence, etc.).
b. Documents concerning the U.S. Government’s intervention (bailout, capital injection, conservatory formation, etc.) for Fannie Mae (records include but are not limited to legal framework, consideration and documentation of foreign investors’ concerns, correspondence, etc.).
The bailouts of Fannie and Freddie have already cost taxpayers $86 billion – and are expected to cost up to $200 billion by the end of next year. Judicial Watch filed its initial FOIA request on February 5, 2009, as part of a large-scale investigation into the government’s response to the financial crisis. By law, Treasury had until March 6, 2009, to respond. Treasury Department officials requested a 10-day extension to conduct a document review. However, since that time, Treasury has provided no documents and no indication when documents will be forthcoming.
On his first day in office, President Obama promised that "transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency." The president further declared that "the Freedom of Information Act is perhaps the most powerful instrument we have for making our government honest and transparent, and of holding it accountable."
Earlier this year, Judicial Watch had to sue the Obama Treasury Department in order to obtain documents regarding an historic meeting held by former Treasury Secretary Henry "Hank" Paulson with top bank executives. The documents show that Paulson and other officials, including then-NY Fed Reserve head and current Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner forced the executives to take the government’s $250 billion "investment" (and resulting control).
"Judicial Watch should not have to fight tooth and nail to obtain important information from the Obama administration related to the federal government’s response to the economic crisis. The public has every right to know the details regarding the federal government’s $200 billion bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac," stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "When is the Obama administration going to start keeping its promises of transparency?"