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Mudd’s Departure Offers Look Back at GSE Execs in 2011

Current and former GSE executives entered national conversations in late 2011 as several retired from their positions, lawmakers took a hard look at multimillion-dollar bonuses, and one member of Congress charged that some senior-level executives received discounted loans in exchange for influence.

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On Wednesday ""Fortress Investment Group"":http://www.fanniemae.com/portal/index.html announced that former ""Fannie Mae"":http://www.fanniemae.com/portal/index.html CEO Daniel Mudd would take a leave of absence from his current role as the company's chief executive.

Mudd said in a statement that he wants to ""focus on matters outside of Fotress [and] not affect the business or operations of the company.""

This week the Securities and Exchange Commission launched an investigation against Mudd and other past GSE executives on a number of charges related to the subprime crisis.

The financial services firm offered up Randal Nardone, principal and co-founder of Fortress, as an interim replacement for Mudd.

""We are grateful to Dan for his service and leadership over the past two and a half years and support his decision to take a

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leave of absence at this point in time,"" Nardone said in a statement. ""We look forward to Dan's return in the hope that matters are resolved favorably and expeditiously.""

Mudd's leave of absence follows a series of resignations by ""Freddie Mac"":http://www.freddiemac.com/ CEO Ed Haldeman, Chairman John Koskinen, and several other board members, with uncertainty over why their resignations went forward at the same time.

These were small problems for current and former GSE executives in 2011, as problems mounted for both current and former GSE executives.

In November a Politico report drew attention to $13 million in bonuses for 10 executives with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by yearend, striking a chord with lawmakers interested in weaning the companies off federal conservatorship.

Sens. ""Mark Begich"":http://begich.senate.gov/public/ (D-Alaska) and ""John Thune"":http://thune.senate.gov/public/ (R-South Dakota) led the charge with a letter by 34 fellow Republicans and 24 fellow Democrats to condemn compensation approval by the ""Federal Housing Finance Agency"":http://www.fhfa.gov/ (FHFA), calling ""such executive compensation... wildly imprudent"" in lieu of more than $140 billion in taxpayer funds for the companies since 2008.

Haldeman and current Fannie Mae CEO Mike Williams tried to soften the blow from their bonuses by testifying with FHFA Acting Director Edward DeMarco at a congressional committee hearing in November.

It wasn't enough to placate House members, however, who voted to pass the Equity in Government Compensation Act ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô a bill that would reduce compensation for GSE executives to salary levels expected for senior-level officials at federal agencies.

The Senate still needs to reconcile the House bill with a version of its own to forward it to President Barack Obama's desk.

About Author: Ryan Schuette

Ryan Schuette is a journalist, cartoonist, and social entrepreneur with several years of experience in real-estate news, international reporting, and business management. He currently lives in the Washington, D.C., area, where he freelances for DS News and MReport.
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