Yale Law School graduate and Associate Professor at Syracuse University College of Law Tara Helfman has written about the conservatorships of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on several occasions. The following is a sampling of her work:
May 2, 2016: Was the Fannie/Freddie ‘Death Spiral’ All a Mirage?
“Judge Sweeney’s decision to remove the “Protected Information” designations from the documents was a restrained and measured move that will have far-reaching implications for the GSEs and for the rule of law generally. And if the first round of public disclosures is any indication of what is to come, public officials will have a lot to answer for in the way they have executed their public duties through the GSEs.”
“By ruling that Fannie and Freddie are private companies, the Ninth Circuit has opened the door for shareholders to hold the companies’ boards accountable for their breach of these obligations. If the profit sweep does not amount to self-dealing by a fiduciary, it is difficult to imagine what would. Government accountability is on the line. With its latest holding on the nature of the GSEs as private companies, the Ninth Circuit has come one step closer to putting an end to the Treasury Department’s charade.”
January 11, 2016: How the Feds Abuse Fannie and Freddie
“The gross mishandling of the conservatorship of Fannie and Freddie represents one of the most stunning abuses of executive power in recent memory. Mirroring the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. statute on which it was modeled, the Housing and Economic Recovery Act provided an explicit mandate that the government put the enterprises on a sound and solvent footing. In fact, the opposite has occurred, and the enterprises are being deliberately held at the brink of insolvency — the GSEs have become an ATM for the U.S. Treasury.”
October 8, 2015: Tearing down the wall of secrecy
“Thankfully, Judge Sweeney has been chipping away at the government’s attempts to build a wall of secrecy around its financial decisions. In late July of this year, she permitted Fairholme to use information that the government sought to keep secret as “protected information” in its shareholder lawsuit.
In the short term, Judge Sweeney’s ruling will help throw much-needed daylight on the government’s financial policies. In the long term, it will send a message to future administrations about transparency and accountability in a free market economy: our markets are a lot more resilient than politicans [sic] think.”
“If the courts deny the plaintiffs compensation for the property the government has taken, they would set a dangerous and self-defeating precedent. They would deter prospective investors from taking a risk on GSEs, making it impossible for the government to marshal the energy and ingenuity of the private sector to serve the public interest. Moreover, by allowing the government to keep its thumb on the scales in its dealings with private investors, the courts would hollow out a key constitutional safeguard of private property rights.”