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THE NATION

McCain aide tied to Freddie Mac

Campaign manager's lobbying firm got payments from the troubled housing lender, a source says.

September 24, 2008|From the Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The lobbying firm of John McCain's campaign manager was paid $15,000 a month for several years until last month by one of two housing companies taken over by the federal government, a person familiar with the financial arrangement said Tuesday night.

That money from Freddie Mac to Rick Davis' firm was on top of more than $30,000 a month that went directly to Davis for five years starting in 2000.

The $30,000 a month came from both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the other housing entity now under government control because of the crisis in the financial markets.

All the payments were first reported by the New York Times, which posted a story on its website Tuesday night revealing the $15,000 a month to the firm of Davis Manafort. The newspaper quoted two people with knowledge of the arrangement.

In response to the disclosure, McCain's presidential campaign issued a statement saying Davis left the firm and stopped taking a salary in 2006.

A person familiar with the contract says the $15,000 monthly payments from Freddie Mac to Davis' firm started around the end of 2005 and continued until about last month. The person spoke on condition of anonymity.

The connection between Davis and the housing giants that figure so centrally in the global financial crisis emerged after the McCain campaign unleashed a sharp attack on Democratic rival Barack Obama.

McCain has tried to tie Obama to Fannie's and Freddie's troubles and has called on Jim Johnson and Franklin Raines -- former Fannie Mae executives who are both Obama supporters -- to return million-dollar "golden parachute" payments they received from the corporation after leaving.

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