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EDITOR OF REDSTATE

Turns Out Grover Norquist Lobbied For Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

While heading Americans for Tax Reform, Grover Norquist founded the lobbying firm of Janus-Meritt Strategies with David Safavian, the former Chief of Staff of the General Services Administration (GSA) who was convicted of lying to prosecutors during the Abramoff scandal and sentenced to prison. Safavian’s conviction was recently upheld. One of the more interesting clients for Mr. Norquist was Fannie Mae. In 2000, Janus Merit received $120,000 in lobbying fees from Fannie Mae. Mr. Norquist, along with Safavian, was listed as one of the main lobbyists on the Fannie Mae account. In disclosure records, Janus-Meritt says its lobbying activities related to a “Home ownership tax.” It appears this lobbying work was designed to protect the homeownership tax credit, which Franklin Raines described as key to “increase homeownership in urban and rural areas.” As many conservatives believe, this credit, which Mr. Norquist and Safavian apparently defended, was a major contributing factor in the housing bubble and mortgage crisis. After lobbying on behalf of Franklin Raines and Fannie Mae, Mr. Norquist sang a different tune in the wake of the subprime mortgage crisis. On October 21, 2010, Mr. Norquist told CNN’s Eliot Spitzer, “Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac brought us this collapse … This was criminal negligence on the part of Barney Frank and Dodd.” Mr. Norquist, of course, granted himself immunity from his role in this “criminal negligence.”

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