by Matt Saldaña
On Monday, The New York Times reported that Rick Davis, John McCain's campaign manager, received nearly $2 million as president of the Homeownership Alliance, an advocacy coalition that successfully defeated regulatory challenges to mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, whose risky purchases contributed to a national mortgage crisis. In a Sunday interview on CNBC, McCain said that, since 2005, when the coalition folded, his campaign manager “has had nothing to do with it since, and I’ll be glad to have his record examined by anybody who wants to look at it.” However, a report published last night on the Times Web site, and independently verified in today's Washington Post, alleges that Davis' firm, Davis & Manafort, received $500,000 in payments from Freddie Mac, through August 2008, due to Davis' relationship with the mortgage company--Davis had initially asked to remain with the companies behind the coalition, on retainer, the Times reports--and his connection to McCain. Though Davis took a leave from the company in 2006 to work on McCain's campaign, as a partner he continues to hold equity in the company, the Times and Post report.
In a response published on John McCain's Web site, campaign blogger Michael Goldfarb does not deny the payments to Davis & Manafort, but alleges that Davis did not directly benefit from payments to the lobbying group he founded, and now co-owns:
Mr. Davis has received no profit or partner distributions from that firm on any basis -- weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual -- since 2006. Again, zero. Neither has Mr. Davis received any equity in the firm based on profits derived since his financial separation from Davis Manafort in 2006.
In other words, Goldfarb is saying Davis didn't get a raise based on these payments. However, Davis still holds equity in the firm, and stands to benefit from its financial success.
Meanwhile, McCain is running television ads that attempt to link Barack Obama to cheif executives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, one of whom now denies he offered housing advice to Obama, and another who was briefly in charge of Obama's vice-presidential vetting committee. Both candidates have received campaign contributions from employees at the mortgage companies.