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Inside Washington (08/15/2011)
* WASHINGTON (8/16/11)--President Barack Obama’s administration has identified two economists, one Republican and one Democrat, as the top candidates for two empty seats on the seven-member Federal Reserve Board (The Wall Street Journal Aug. 15). Jeremy Stein, a Harvard University specialist in finance, worked at the White House at the beginning of the Obama administration. Richard Clarida, an executive vice president at the money management firm Pimco, and professor of economics and international affairs at Columbia University, was a Treasury official early in the George W. Bush administration. The administration hopes that matching a Republican with a Democrat will ease the path to Senate confirmation, according to the Journal. The White House has yet to formally nominate either and could change course. Stein has a Ph.D. from M.I.T. and has been a professor of economics at Harvard for 10 years. Clarida, who earned his Ph.D. at Harvard, has been at Pimco since 2006, where he is co-head of the official-institutions channel, which oversees coverage of the firm’s central-bank and sovereign-wealth-fund clients. He was assistant Treasury secretary for economic policy under Bush from February 2002 to May 2003 … * WASHINGTON (8/16/11)--Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should renegotiate their agreements with the Treasury Department to manage President Barack Obama’s anti-foreclosure efforts, according to a report released by the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) inspector general (The Wall Street Journal Aug. 15). The report said the current contracts didn’t define the scope of work or how much the companies would be paid, and should be reworked to hold down expenses and establish a process for dispute resolution. The report acknowledges conflict between the FHFA, the regulator in charge of protecting the companies’ financial interests, and the Treasury, which assumed ownership of many mortgage companies after bailing them out during the 2008 financial crisis. Since the financial crisis, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have received $170 billion in Treasury aid, making them currently the biggest beneficiaries of federal aid …

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