Bob Secter and Andrew Zajac of the Chicago Tribune report that, while researching what went at Freddie Mac during the period White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel served on the board of directors of Freddie Mac, they were unable to get minutes of board meetings and other information:
The Obama administration rejected a Tribune request under the Freedom of Information Act to review Freddie Mac board minutes and correspondence during Emanuel’s time as a director. The documents, obtained by Falcon for his investigation, were “commercial information” exempt from disclosure, according to a lawyer for the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
Freddie Mac executives cooked the books, mismanaged the firm, and ultimately drove it into the ground, costing taxpayers billions of dollars. The “commercial information” exemption is reserved for private companies–Freddie Mac is by no means a private company anymore.
Sector and Zajac did get contemporaries of Emanuel to describe his participation on the company’s board:
One of Emanuel’s fellow directors at Freddie Mac was Neil Hartigan, the former Illinois attorney general. Hartigan said Emanuel’s primary contribution was explaining to others on the board how to play the levers of power.
He was respected on the board for his understanding of “the dynamics of the legislative process and the executive branch at senior levels,” Hartigan recalled. “I wouldn’t say he was outspoken. What he was, was solid.”
Shouldn’t that information now be available to the taxpayers who are bailing out the company?