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Freddie, Fannie, Merrill, et al stopped their political donations last month

September 19, 2008 |  6:02 pm

They left with a whimper.

Once huge campaign donors, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers and AIG all but ended their generosity in August as they teetered on the brink of insolvency.

Since the start of 2007, Freddie and Fannie had given a combined $829,000 to federal candidates and campaign accounts. Merrill had given $2.1 million, Lehman $1.9 million, and AIG had handed out $664,000. Here is one previous post on the contributions. Here is another.

But suddenly, the spigot shut off, as often happens during insolvency. Perhaps they saw troubled times coming, because for the most part, they stopped giving campaign donations in August.

AIG is one exception. It contributed $2,500 on Aug. 27 to a political action committee controlled by former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and another $1,000 to Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) on Aug. 8, newly filed campaign finance reports showed today.

Fannie, Freddie, Merrill and Lehman gave no donations, their filings with the Federal Election Commission reveal. Rep Steve Kagen (D-Wisc.) did receive $1,000 from Fannie Mae's political action committee in July. Apparently, he saw the debacle coming.

Fannie lists the check as being returned on Aug. 29.

— Dan Morain