ABC Highlights 'Shameful Chapter' of CEO Excess; Ignores Government Role

     If you are the CEO of a private company that fails, prepare to be scrutinized by the media. If you are the CEO of a government sponsored enterprise (GSE), you don’t even get a mention.

     In a September 19 “Good Morning America” preview of a report scheduled to appear on the same day’s edition of ABC’s “20/20,” chief investigative reporter Brian Ross took a few jabs at the rich who had fallen.

     Ross called it “the end of a shameful chapter of American history,” and although top executives on Wall Street had been hit hard in a way “they never thought was possible … it’s hardly the soup kitchen.”

     There was also much indignation in the report over the assets of Richard S. Fuld Jr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of now fallen Lehman Brothers Inc., and Alan Schwartz, the CEO of now “busted” Bear Stearns.

     But Ross didn’t include any outrage over the extravagant wealth of the former Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac CEOs – the two GSEs recently bailed out by taxpayers after years of mismanagement. Fannie and Freddie CEOs also made million-dollar salaries.

     Well before the buyout of Fannie Mae, the Securities and Exchange Commission revealed that chief executive Daniel Mudd’s compensation included just under $1 million in salary, $2.2 million in incentive payments, about $10 million from stock and option grants, and $153,531 in other compensation, as reported by Reuters April 7.

     The Associated Press reported that former Freddie Mac chief Richard Syron made $19.8 million in compensation in 2007, July 18.

     The Washington Post reported Sept. 15 that Mudd and Syron together were eligible to receive as much as $25 million in severance, according to their contracts. The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced September 14, however, that it would not allow Mudd and Syron to collect those severance packages.