Fannie and Freddie: What Went Wrong?
The WaPost's Binyamin Appelbaum, Carol D. Leonnig and David S. Hilzenrath have a very good article on how Fannie and Freddie avoided oversight, despite ample warning that they were headed for trouble. Money graf:
Blessed with the advantages of a government agency and a private company at the same time, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac used their windfall profits to co-opt the politicians who were supposed to control them. The companies fought successfully against increased regulation by cultivating their friends and hounding their enemies.
Of course, anyone who's been reading the WSJ editorial page for the past decade knew this.