Report: Top Obama Transition Staffer Led “Backdoor” Lobbying Campaign For Fannie Mae

Change we can believe in?

Last week, the Obama transition team announced that it had tapped veteran Beltway Democrat Thomas Donilon to help lead its review of operations at the State Department. As multiple news outlets quickly pointed out, until 2005 Donilon helped oversee the aggressive lobbying operation of troubled mortgage giant Fannie Mae.

Now, ABCNews.com has fleshed out the picture a bit, reporting that Donilon oversaw what it describes as a “backdoor lobbying campaign … to undermine the credibility of a probe into the firm’s accounting irregularities.”

The details, which center on a campaign to discredit an agency charged with overseeing the company:

The effort — which reportedly included attacks on the funding for the oversight agency, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, and an attempt to launch a separate investigation into OFHEO itself — was ultimately unsuccessful, and regulators eventually discovered top Fannie Mae executives had been manipulating the company’s financial reporting to maximize their bonuses.

Donilon was not found to be involved in the financial manipulations, but he did help give Fannie’s board the misimpression that the company was in good financial health, according to the OFHEO investigation.

Donilon did not comment to ABCNews.com.

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