Obama choice helped Fannie block oversight

National security adviser tied to discrediting of probe

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“Tom has a wealth of experience that will serve him well in this new assignment,” said Mr. Obama. “He has served three presidents and been immersed in our national security for decades. Over the last two years, there is not a single critical national security issue that has not crossed Tom’s desk.

“He has helped manage our national security team and the policymaking process, and won the respect and admiration of his colleagues in the White House and across the administration,” he said.

Mr. Biden, calling Mr. Donilon a friend and adviser for nearly 25 years, said he and Mr. Obama are fortunate to be able to rely on Mr. Donilon’s “counsel and leadership.”

Mr. Donilon also has served at the Council on Foreign Relations and the Aspen Strategy Group, and has advised congressional leadership on national security issues. As a deputy at the White House, he’s been active in Asia policy, and among other overseas trips, he recently went to China with Mr. Obama’s top economic adviser, Lawrence H. Summers.

Still, Mr. Donilon’s Fannie Mae ties haven’t gone unnoticed. The day after Mr. Obama introduced Mr. Donilon as the new national security adviser, the Republican National Committee blasted out an e-mail noting that he made millions of dollars battling oversight of Fannie Mae.

According to the OFHEO report, which mentions Mr. Donilon’s name more than three dozen times, he received nearly $1.9 million in bonuses at Fannie Mae from 2001 to 2003. The report also notes that he and other executives scripted meetings of the Fannie Mae board’s compensation committee, which influenced how the meetings were conducted.

The collapse of Fannie Mae surfaced as an issue during Mr. Obama’s campaign against Republican Sen. John McCain, when both sides accused the other of having top advisers with ties to Fannie Mae.

Though Mr. Donilon previously worked as a lobbyist, he isn’t barred from taking a job in the Obama administration, nor does he require an ethics waiver, because he was last registered to lobby in 2005.

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