October 27, 2015
Thank you for contacting me to express your thoughts regarding the letters I sent to the Department of Justice and U.S. Treasury about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. As your Senator, it is always good to hear from you. Please accept my apology for the delay in my response.
As you may know, in April I sought answers from the Obama Administration on why it reportedly won't disclose documents regarding the decision by the Treasury Department and Federal Housing Finance Agency to amend the terms of the government's ownership stake in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The documents reportedly involve an amendment to the agreement that resulted in billions of dollars of profit from the mortgage financing firms being captured by the Treasury. The Justice Department responded that a number of documents are included in provisional privilege logs because they may fall within the scope of the presidential communications privilege. However, the Justice Department stated that an actual assertion has not been authorized by the President and indicated that no decision about whether actually asserting the privilege would be needed "unless and until plaintiffs file a motion to compel" production.
You have to wonder if the provisional privilege is brinkmanship or bluster by Justice Department lawyers rather than a legitimate signal that the President would actually assert the privilege to keep the records secret. The public's business generally ought to be public, especially when the American people's money is involved. The government needs to justify its rationale for keeping the public in the dark.
More information on my inquiries can be found here. Also, the response from the Justice Department can be found here. Please be assured that I will keep your thoughts in mind as I continue investigating this matter.
Again, appreciate your concerns and urge you to stay in touch.
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