In response to concerted requests from Republicans, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), who chairs the House Oversight Committee, announced today that the committee will hold hearings into the failure of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Waxman's low-key announcement -- "the request we've received from the minority will be pursued," he said -- came at a hearing with executives of AIG, as part of a committee investigation into the failed insurer. Yesterday, GOP members of the committee launched a campaign to discredit Waxman's broader investigation into corporate misdeeds, including at AIG.
Republicans had also called on Waxman to look into Fannie and Freddie, who, unlike many other corporations implicated in the current financial crisis, have closer ties to Democrats than to the GOP, by some assessments.
At a hearing yesterday, Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia, the ranking Republican on the committee, said of Fannie and Freddie: "They seem to be at the epicenter of the crisis, and yet the chairman continues to focus on issues, such as executive compensation, that generate headlines but neither get to the root of the problem nor move us any closer to a solution. We'd hate to think the millions of dollars Fannie and Freddie executives contributed to Democratic congressional candidates also contributed to the reluctance to investigate this aspect of the crisis."
Republicans also called, at this morning's hearing, for Attorney General Michael Mukasey to appoint a special prosecutor to look into Fannie and Freddie.