On May 23, the federal government slapped a $400 million fine on Fannie Mae (NYSE: FNM), a mortgage brokerage led by
“When Franklin Raines strode into Fannie Mae’s corporate board room in 1998 to take over as CEO, he was met with applause,” correspondent Anthony Mason began his taped segment on the May 23 “Evening News,” adding that the “government report out today says Raines presided over an arrogant and unethical corporate culture.”
Among the findings of the government investigation, Mason reported, “between 1998 and 2003, Fannie Mae overstated earnings by more than $10 billion, manipulating them to maximize bonuses for company executives, including Raines.”
In all, Mason added, Raines “received $90 million in bonuses during those years, more than $52 million of which was tied to hitting earnings targets.”
Despite a tantalizing political angle, Mason left out Raines’s Democratic connections. Raines served as
Raines was not the only
The news networks have generally overlooked Fannie Mae’s scandal, even as the mortgage lender’s overstated earnings are about 19 times larger than Enron’s accounting gimmickry. A Nexis search of the past six months of ABC, CBS, and NBC showed 184 hits for Enron but only eight for Fannie Mae.
[Cross-posted to BusinessandMedia.org]