James A. Johnson (businessman)

  (Redirected from James A. Johnson (politics))

James A. Johnson (December 24, 1943 – October 18, 2020)[1] was an American businessman, Democratic Party political figure, and chairman and chief executive officer of Fannie Mae. He was the campaign chairman for Walter Mondale's unsuccessful 1984 presidential bid and chaired the vice presidential selection committee for the presidential campaign of John Kerry. He briefly led the vice-presidential selection process for the 2008 Democratic presidential nominee, Senator Barack Obama.

James A. Johnson
Born(1943-12-24)December 24, 1943
DiedOctober 18, 2020(2020-10-18) (aged 76)
Alma materUniversity of Minnesota, Twin
Cities

Princeton University
Political partyDemocratic
Websitejamesajohnson.com

Before working for Fannie Mae, Johnson co-founded the private consulting firm Public Strategies with diplomat Richard Holbrooke. They sold the company to Shearson Lehman Brothers in 1985, after which Johnson served as a managing director at Lehman Brothers. After leading Fannie Mae from 1991 to 1998, Johnson became a board member of the investment bank Goldman Sachs as well as several other companies including Target Corporation and UnitedHealth Group. He was also chairman of both the Kennedy Center for the Arts and the Brookings Institution.

Early life and educationEdit

Johnson was born on December 24, 1943, in Benson, Minnesota.[2][3] He was the son of Adeline, a schoolteacher, and Alfred I. Johnson, who was a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives from 1941 to 1958, and served as speaker of the house in 1955 and 1957.[2][4]

At the University of Minnesota, Johnson was student body president[5][6] and graduated with a B.A. in political science in 1966,[7] and a Master of Public Affairs degree from the School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University in 1968.[2]

CareerEdit

While a student at the University of Minnesota, Johnson began his political career as a volunteer on the 1968 presidential campaign of Eugene McCarthy.[8] He was later a faculty member at Princeton University.[9]

In the 1972 Democratic Party presidential primaries, Johnson started as the national campaign coordinator for Senator Edmund Muskie, whose primary campaign came to an end despite early victories in Iowa and Illinois.[10] From 1973 to 1976, Johnson served as director of public affairs at the Dayton-Hudson Corporation (now Target Corporation).[11] During this period, Johnson also worked for Senators George McGovern[2] and Walter Mondale.[12] In 1974, Mondale considered a run in the 1976 presidential primaries with an exploratory committee which Johnson helped create.[12][13] In 1976, he was deputy director of Mondale's vice-presidential campaign[12] and was executive assistant to the Vice President during the entire Carter Administration.[12][14]

In 1981, Johnson co-founded Public Strategies, a private consulting firm, with diplomat Richard Holbrooke. During that time, he was the campaign manager for Walter Mondale's unsuccessful 1984 presidential bid.[15] After selling Public Strategies to Shearson Lehman Brothers in 1985,[16] Johnson was a managing director at Lehman Brothers from 1985 to 1990.[17]

In 1990, Johnson became vice chairman of Fannie Mae, or the Federal National Mortgage Association,[15] a United States government-sponsored enterprise and publicly traded company.[18][19] In 1991, he was appointed chairman and chief executive officer of Fannie Mae,[15] a position he held until 1998.[20][21] In 1996 Johnson published a book, Showing America a New Way Home.[15]

An Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) report[22] from September 2004 found that, during Johnson's tenure as CEO, Fannie Mae had improperly deferred $200 million in expenses. This enabled top executives, including Johnson and his successor, Franklin Raines, to receive substantial bonuses in 1998.[23] A 2006 OFHEO report[24] found that Fannie Mae had substantially under-reported Johnson's compensation. Originally reported as $6–7 million, Johnson actually received approximately $21 million.[25]

In the 2011 book Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon, authors Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner wrote that Johnson was one of the key figures responsible for the late-2000s financial crisis. Morgenson described him in an NPR interview as "corporate America's founding father of regulation manipulation".[26] Andrew Ross Sorkin wrote in The New York Times in 2012, "In fairness to Mr. Johnson, the vast majority of losses racked up by Fannie were the results of loans bought after he departed."[20]

Johnson was one of the first outside directors and the longest-serving board member of the investment bank Goldman Sachs. From 1999, when the company went public, until May 2018, he served as chairman of the compensation committee at Goldman Sachs.[21][27][28] He also served on the board of Forestar Group, Gannett Company, Inc.,[2] KB Home,[21] Target Corporation,[20] Temple-Inland,[2] and UnitedHealth Group.[21] Johnson was also the vice chairman of the private banking firm Perseus.[11]

Johnson chaired the vice presidential selection committee for the unsuccessful 2004 presidential campaign of John Kerry. There was speculation that, had Kerry won, Johnson might have been named Kerry's chief of staff, or Secretary of the Treasury.[2]

On June 4, 2008, Barack Obama announced the formation of a three-person committee to vet vice presidential candidates, including Johnson, Caroline Kennedy, and Eric Holder.[29] However, Johnson soon became a source of controversy when it was reported that he had received $7 million in cut-rate mortgage loans directly from Angelo Mozilo, the CEO of Countrywide Financial, a company implicated in the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis.[30] Johnson resigned from the vice presidential search committee on June 11, 2008, stating that he had done nothing wrong but did not want to distract attention from Obama's "historical effort".[31][32] He continued to assist in efforts to recruit former Hillary Clinton supporters to the Obama campaign.[33] On September 19, 2008, the John McCain campaign released an ad critical of Obama for his connections to Johnson and for appointing him to the vice presidential search committee.[34]

Other membershipsEdit

Johnson has served as chairman of the Kennedy Center for the Arts (1996–2004) where he created and endowed the center's Millennium Stage.[35][36][37] He was also chairman of the Brookings Institution (1994–2003)[38] and continued thereafter to serve on the Advisory Council of the Brookings Institution's Hamilton Project.[39][40] Since 2011, he has been chairman of the Advisory Council for the Stanford University Center on Longevity.[41] He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Friends of Bilderberg, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Trilateral Commission. Johnson was also a member of the Steering Committee of the Bilderberg Group and participated in all of their conferences since 1998 except in 1999 and 2004.[42]

Honors and accoladesEdit

In 1994, Johnson received the Honor Award from the National Building Museum for his contributions to the U.S.'s building heritage during his tenure at Fannie Mae.[43] He was also named as a Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian magazine in 1998.[44]

Johnson received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Colby College in 1997, an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Howard University in 1999, and Doctor of Laws from Skidmore College in 2002[9] and the University of Minnesota in 2006.[7]

Personal lifeEdit

Johnson's first marriage was to Katherine Marshall.[1] After they divorced, he married Maxine Isaacs, who served as press secretary for Mondale's 1984 election campaign.[15] Together, they had a son (Alfred).[1] They separated in 2010[15][45] and subsequently divorced.[1] He married Heather Muir Kirby, a managing director at Deutsche Bank, in 2016.[1]

Johnson's son, Alfred Johnson, is currently serving as Deputy Chief of Staff in the Department of the Treasury.[46] He previously served in the Obama Administration, working as an aide to Rahm Emmanuel. [47]

Johnson died on October 18, 2020, at his home in Washington, D.C., at age 76; he had suffered from a neurological condition in the time leading up to his death.[1]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f "James A. Johnson, executive who transformed Fannie Mae into political powerhouse, dies at 76". Washington Post. Retrieved October 18, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Grow, Doug (June 3, 2008). "Obama turns to trusted political insider Jim Johnson for key campaign role". MinnPost. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  3. ^ "James A. Johnson". Howard University. 1999. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  4. ^ Hagerty, James R. (October 18, 2020). "Democratic Party Power Broker James A. Johnson Dies at 76". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  5. ^ "U. of Minnesota Faces Inquiry Spurred by Radicalism Dispute; Legislature Acts After Professor Stirs Protests by Calling for Diversity of Opinion—Tenure Policy Assayed". The New York Times. February 23, 1964. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  6. ^ Beal, Dave (May 15, 2015). "Feared and fearless: A Q&A with journalist Gretchen Morgenson, watchdog of Wall Street and Washington". MinnPost. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  7. ^ a b "Advocates for equity, free speech are 2019 Humphrey Leadership Awardees". University of Minnesota Twin Cities. February 13, 2019. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  8. ^ Nagourney, Adam (April 4, 2004). "A Quick and Quiet Search to Fill the Democratic Ticket". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  9. ^ a b "Biography: James A. Johnson" (PDF). United States Department of the Treasury. December 2002. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 2, 2010. Retrieved July 18, 2010.
  10. ^ "Muskie and McCarthy Entered In Illinois Primary on March 21". The New York Times. January 4, 1972. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  11. ^ a b "Bio Information on Jim Johnson". Fox News. The Associated Press. June 4, 2008. Archived from the original on June 13, 2008. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  12. ^ a b c d Harris, David (June 19, 1983). "Understanding Mondale". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  13. ^ Lydon, Christopher (January 18, 1974). "Mondale Will Seek $100,000 to Explore Prospects for 1976". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  14. ^ Gailey, Phil (November 16, 1984). "Politics; for a Mondale Friend, One Question Lingers". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  15. ^ a b c d e f Cooper, Matthew (February 23, 1997). "A Medici With Your Money". Slate Magazine. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  16. ^ Morgenson, Gretchen; Rosner, Joshua (May 24, 2011). Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon. Macmillan. p. 16. ISBN 978-1-4299-6577-4.
  17. ^ Office of the Press Secretary (September 17, 1996). "President Clinton Names Six Members to the Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts". The White House. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  18. ^ Shin, Annys (May 24, 2006). "Examining Fannie Mae". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  19. ^ Will, George F. (July 1, 2011). "Burning down the house". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  20. ^ a b c Sorkin, Andrew Ross (April 23, 2012). "'Tainted,' but Still Serving on Corporate Boards". The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 1, 2019. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  21. ^ a b c d Harper, Christine (April 19, 2012). "Goldman Sachs Director Johnson Opposed by Buffett-Linked Fund". Bloomberg. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  22. ^ Report of Findings to Date - Special Examination of Fannie Mae Archived May 19, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ Crenshaw, Albert B. (December 23, 2004). "High Pay at Fannie Mae For the Well-Connected". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  24. ^ Report of the Special Examination of Fannie Mae Archived September 16, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, May 2006
  25. ^ "Fannie Mae's Johnson, a 'Pied Piper,' Led U.S. Off Cliff Books". Bloomberg. Retrieved October 18, 2020.
  26. ^ "How 'Reckless' Greed Contributed To Financial Crisis". NPR. May 24, 2011. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  27. ^ McLean, Bethany (December 30, 2008). "Fannie Mae's Last Stand". Vanity Fair. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  28. ^ Campbell, Dakin (May 2, 2018). "There's a new pay czar approving how much Goldman Sachs' top brass gets paid". Business Insider. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  29. ^ Jensen, Kristin; Dolmetsch, Chris (June 4, 2008). "Obama Picks Caroline Kennedy, 2 Others for VP Search (Update2)". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on June 13, 2010.
  30. ^ "'I Really Have No Recollection': Fannie Mae And Barney Frank's Roles In The Financial Meltdown". HuffPost. May 26, 2011. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  31. ^ Murray, Sheilagh (June 11, 2008). "Johnson Steps Down from Obama VP Search". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  32. ^ Weisman, Jonathan (June 12, 2008). "Leader of Obama's VP Search Team Quits". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  33. ^ Smith, Ben (September 24, 2008). "Johnson to lead Obama briefing". Politico. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  34. ^ Carnevale, Mary Lu (September 19, 2008). "McCain Attacks Obama on Ties to Former Fannie Mae CEOs". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  35. ^ Groer, Annie; Page, Tim (February 29, 1996). "James Johnson to Head Kennedy Center". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  36. ^ "History". Kennedy-Center.org. 2020. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  37. ^ Files, John (May 20, 2004). "Arts Briefing: Highlights; New Kennedy Center Chairman". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  38. ^ "John Thornton to Succeed James A. Johnson as Chairman of the Brookings Board". Brookings. June 11, 2003. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  39. ^ "James A. Johnson". The Hamilton Project. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  40. ^ Payne, Erica (August 12, 2008). The Practical Progressive: How to Build a Twenty-first Century Political Movement. PublicAffairs. p. 182. ISBN 978-1-58648-719-5.
  41. ^ "James (Jim) A. Johnson, Council Chairman". Stanford Center on Longevity. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  42. ^ "Steering Committee". bilderbergmeetings.org. Bilderberg Group. Archived from the original on March 11, 2014. Retrieved February 8, 2014.
  43. ^ "Awards for exemplary achievements in the built environment". National Building Museum. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  44. ^ "Past Washingtonians of the Year". Washingtonian. January 29, 2008. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  45. ^ Roberts, Roxanne; Argetsinger, Amy (December 14, 2010). "After 25 years of marriage, Washington power couple Maxine Isaacs and Jim Johnson separate". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 3, 2012.
  46. ^ "Alfred I. Johnson | U.S. Department of the Treasury". home.treasury.gov. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
  47. ^ "Alfred Johnson, a Chip Off the Political Block". The Washington Post. March 29, 2011. Retrieved March 22, 2021.

External linksEdit