John McCain railed against Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on the campaign trail today, saying that the CEOs that led the lenders to ruin "deserve nothing" and should have to pay back their severance packages. He published an op-ed along with his vice presidential pick, Sarah Palin, in the Wall Street Journal that suggested bold reforms for Fannie and Freddie that would "terminate future lobbying, which was one of the primary contributors to this great debacle."
If that's the case, McCain will want to look first to his campaign staffers as the cause of that debacle. One of them was Fannie Mae's head of lobbying, and spread tens of millions of dollars around Washington in the form of lobbying contracts. A number of staffers were on the receiving end of those contracts, collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars each from the lenders to rep their interests. And McCain's campaign manager served as president of a lobbying association that fought to protect Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae from the sort of regulation that McCain is now proposing.