Tester again moves to block ‘unjustified’ Fannie and Freddie bonuses

Senator’s action follows unmet demands for answers, accountability

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester is cosponsoring legislation to end undeserved bonuses for executives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – the latest step in his campaign to hold the housing agency chiefs accountable to the American public.

Tester is backing the bipartisan Stop the Outrageous Pay Act that suspends all bonuses and places all Fannie and Freddie employees on a structured pay scale.  Tester is Montana’s only member of the Senate Banking Committee, which has oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

“I’ve been turning up the heat and calling for Fannie and Freddie to answer for their unjustified bonuses, but haven’t gotten good answers,” Tester said.  “By making these executives play by the same rules as everyone else, I know we’ll get their attention quickly.  I stand with the rest of Montana in calling for a fair shake and in saying enough is enough.”

Tester efforts to rein in excessive compensation and bonuses at Fannie and Freddie include his questioning of the head of the Federal Housing Finance Authority – the agency which oversees Fannie and Freddie – at a November Senate Banking Committee hearing which came at Tester’s request:

“Did it ever even cross your mind when dealing with these compensation packages to say, ‘Hey, this is a tough year.  The housing market’s in a bad place.  The taxpayers are on the hook.  Let’s revisit this, use some common sense on the executive pay this year?’” Tester asked Acting Finance Authority Director Edward DeMarco.

Tester also recently told DeMarco that no bonuses for 2011 should be awarded until the agency adopts the executive compensation recommendations made by its own investigator earlier that year. 

Tester’s STOP Act will:
• Place all employees of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on the same pay scale used by other federal financial regulators,
• Prevent any future pay or bonus payments in excess of the new pay cap that have not been distributed,
• Require Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac salary disbursements to be made available to Congress and the public without compromising the privacy of individual employees.    

Tester’s STOP Act is available online HERE.

Video of Tester’s November hearing is available online HERE.