Fannie, Freddie CEOs agree to face Congress over bonuses
Fannie Mae CEO Michael Williams and Freddie Mac CEO Charles "Ed" Haldeman agreed to face lawmakers Wednesday over bonuses they and their top executives were paid to manage the mortgage giants. Last week, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) organized a hearing over the issue and requested both CEOs make an appearance. A spokesman for Issa said Monday that both CEOs committed to testify at what should be a tense meeting. In 2010, both Williams and Haldeman made a base salary of $900,000 to run the two companies that owe the Treasury Department $151.7 billion in dividend payments on their continued bailouts. But both men pulled in roughly $2.3 million in bonuses, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission in February. The combined top 10 executives at both companies made nearly $13 million in bonuses in 2010. "If $900,000 base salary isn't enough to get someone qualified in that position, I don't know what is. You don't have to bonus them another $2.3 million — it just is too much especially when those two entities owe the American taxpayers so much money," Issa told CNBC last week. The Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) also called a hearing to be held Tuesday. Federal Housing Finance Agency Acting Director Edward DeMarco, who approved the bonuses, will testify at the Senate and would likely echo his earlier defense of the bonuses, calling them necessary to retain talent at the GSEs. While the bonuses were disclosed nearly eight months ago, the outcry began after Politico ran a story on the payouts after Haldeman announced in October that he would step down. A group of 60 senators wrote a letter to DeMarco and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner demanding changes to how the bonuses would be approved in the future. Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior.