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Fannie Mae fined for soft money donations

March 4, 2004

Mortgage corp. violated Federal Election Campaign Act

Inman News

Home loan finance giant Fannie Mae is one of three organizations fined a total of $132,000 for violating the Federal Election Campaign Act, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) reported Wednesday.

Under conciliation agreements made with the FEC, Fannie Mae will pay $10,000 in civil penalties, the Republican National Committee will pay $98,000 and the National Republican Senatorial Committee will pay $24,000.

The FEC found that certain donations from Fannie Mae between 1998 and 2000 were made to or deposited in nonfederal accounts of the party committees that were not "building funds." The Federal Election Campaign Act prohibits contributions or expenditures from congressionally chartered corporations in connection with any election. The law in effect at the time provided for a specific exception for contributions to building fund accounts.

Fannie Mae is a shareholder owned corporation chartered by the federal government to ensure a constant flow of mortgage funds to the nation's primary mortgage markets.

Fannie Mae donated $51,470 to the Republican Governors' Association and these funds were deposited in the Republican National State Elections Committee account of the Republican National Committee (RNC), according to the conciliation agreement. The RNC also improperly deposited $250,000 from Freddie Mac in its general nonfederal account in 2001 even though the donation had been properly designated for the building fund.

Fannie Mae also made donations of $50,000 to the 1999 Senate-House Dinner Committee and $100,000 to the 2000 House-Senate Dinner Committee that did not contain specific building fund designations at the time the donations were made. The Dinner Committees did, however, deposit the donations in building fund accounts.

The FEC also found that the NRSC improperly deposited three different donations it received from Freddie Mac, totaling $130,250, into nonfederal accounts not designated as building funds. The FEC refunded $130,000 in 2001 and $250 in 2003.

The FEC voted to take no further action against Freddie Mac but sent it an admonishment letter regarding a donation made to the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) without a designation to a building fund. This donation was properly deposited by the NRCC. The investigation stemmed from a complaint filed with the FEC by John Berthoud, president of the National Taxpayers Union,

Copyright: Inman News Features

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