By Matt Kelley and Ken Dilanian, USA TODAY
The claim: "With the encouragement of Sen. Obama and his cronies," McCain said, government-sponsored mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were key drivers of the financial crisis — "the match that started this forest fire." McCain said Obama is the second-highest recipient "in history" of campaign contributions from employees of those entities in the Congress.
The facts: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which were created to promote homeownership, went into government conservatorship last month after huge losses from investments in mortgage-backed securities. Bills to tighten regulations on them failed in the last decade. Many of Fannie and Freddie's most ardent supporters have been Democrats.
Experts disagree about how important Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were in contributing to the financial meltdown. No one disputes that the corporations bought billions of dollars in securities now considered "toxic," but so did many large private banks and investment firms.
Obama has received $126,349 in contributions from Fannie and Freddie employees and political action committees, according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, which did an analysis of the corporation's federal campaign contributions since 1989. That's second in Congress only to Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, who chairs the banking committee. McCain has received $21,550.
The McCain campaign has produced no evidence, however, that Obama did favors for the corporations. In 2005, McCain co-sponsored a bill to step up regulation on Fannie and Freddie. Dodd and other Democrats voted against it in committee; it never came to a vote in the full Senate, so Obama did not vote on it.