Many of the government officials who were involved in the decisions surrounding the GSE conservatorship are now in the private sector, working on proposals for much-anticipated GSE reform.
Without getting too deeply into the weeds of this even more complicated tale, government officials have been working with Wall Street lobbyists for years on a plan to have a consortium of private banking interests step into the shoes of Fannie and Freddie.
If this concept actually goes through, it would be the unlikeliest of coups for Wall Street. Having nearly triggered a global depression eight years ago, the usual-suspect, too-big-to-fail banks would essentially be put in control of the same housing markets they all but wrecked last time around.
This would be a nonstarter politically, the ultimate public-relations disaster, were it not for the fact that Fannie and Freddie are about the only companies on earth less popular than the Wall Street banks. Still, replacing the one with the other would be madness by any objective standard.
Are the gory details of that plan what the government is working so hard to keep under seal?
We may never know. Judge Sweeney has yet to rule on the vast majority of the documents, and there’s no guarantee that she will ultimately unseal the remainder of the material. We may never find out what the government was so keen on keeping secret.
The only thing that is clear is that there’s something odd going on, with the Obama administration asserting privilege over a volume of papers so large, it would make Nixon blush.
“I’ve been doing this for 20 years, and I’ve never seen anything like it,” says David Thompson of Cooper and Kirk, one of the attorneys fighting to unseal the material.
Related: sharing only part of Madison’s $460,000,000 k-12 budget.