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Peter J. Wallison (born June 6, 1941) is a lawyer and the Arthur F. Burns Fellow in Financial Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute. He specializes in financial markets deregulation. He was White House Counsel during the Tower Commission's inquiry into the Iran Contra Affair.[1] He was a dissenting member of the 2010 Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, frequent commentator in the mass media on the federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the financial crisis of 2007–2008 and wrote Hidden in Plain Sight (2015) about the crisis and its legacy.

Peter Wallison
Peter Wallison 1986.jpg
White House Counsel
In office
May 23, 1986 – March 20, 1987
PresidentRonald Reagan
Preceded byFred Fielding
Succeeded byArthur Culvahouse
Personal details
Born (1941-06-06) June 6, 1941 (age 78)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Frieda Wallison
EducationHarvard University (BA, LLB)


Wallison was born in New York City, and educated at the Capitol Page School and Harvard University (A.B. 1963, LL.B. 1966), where he was President of the Young Republicans.[2] He was admitted to the bar of New York state in 1967.[3][4]

Emanuel Celler appointed him a United States House of Representatives Page when he was about 14, and he served for most of his high school years. The Democrats controlled the patronage, but assigned some pages, such as Wallison, to the minority party. This experience helped him become a Republican.[2]

He was a Rockefeller Republican before becoming a Reagan Republican.

On November 24, 1966, he married the former Frieda Koslow (born in New York January 15, 1943, A.B. Smith College 1963, LL.B. Harvard Law School 1966 admitted to New York bar in 1967, D.C. bar 1982). They have three children, Ethan S., Jeremy L., Rebecca K. Mrs. Wallison develops real estate in Snowmass, Colorado.[5][6][7][8][9]

They split their time between homes in Colorado and in Washington, D.C.



In 1999, Wallison told New York Times reporter Steven A. Holmes that the expansion of mortgage loans by reducing the amount borrowers have to put down and extending loans to so-called subprime borrowers was creating a situation where Fannie Mae was taking on significantly more risk. "From the perspective of many people, including me, this is another thrift industry growing up around us," he said. "If they fail, the government will have to step up and bail them out the way it stepped up and bailed out the thrift industry."[10] The article pointed out that the Clinton Administration had put pressure on Fannie Mae to lower standards "to expand loans among low and moderate income people."

Wallison gave a eulogy at a memorial service for Don Regan in June 2003.[2]

Wallison's writing on the cause of the Financial crisis of 2007–08 have brought much comment. In December, 2011, the New York Times financial columnist Joe Nocera stated that Wallison had "almost single-handedly created the myth that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac caused the financial crisis." [11] Calling it "a big lie," Nocera suggested that Wallison had engaged in a deliberate deception. Economist Paul Krugman has also accused Wallison of deception,[12] criticizing him for—among other things—attacking Fannie and Freddie in a magazine article just a year before the subprime mortgage collapse for not doing a "better job of providing affordable home financing to a neglected portion of the mortgage market." This neglected portion consisted of "African-American ... Hispanic", and "low-income borrowers".[13][14][15] Wallison cites New York Times columnist Gretchen Morgenson exposing how "Democratic political operative Jim Johnson turned Fannie Mae into a political machine", and dismisses the exoneration of the GSEs as "the big lie."[16]



  • (With John D. Hawke, Jr.) The State Banking Revolution and the Federal Response: New Frontiers of Financial Service Expansion, Law and Business/Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (Clifton, NJ), 1984.
  • State Banking Regulation and Deregulation, Law and Business/Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (New York, NY), 1985.
  • Back from the Brink: A Practical Plan for Privatizing Deposit Insurance and Strengthening Our Banks and Thrifts, AEI Press (Washington, DC), 1990.
  • (With Bert Ely) Nationalizing Mortgage Risk: The Growth of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, AEI Press (Washington, DC), 2000.
  • (With Robert E. Litan) The GAAP Gap, AEI Press (Washington, DC), 2000.
  • (Editor) Optional Federal Chartering and Regulation of Insurance Companies, AEI Press (Washington, DC), 2000.
  • "Statement for Roundtable Discussion on H.R. 3703" (PDF). House Banking Committee Subcommittee on Capital Markets. 2000-09-06. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2003-05-06. Retrieved 2008-10-19.
  • (Editor) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: Public Purposes and Private Interests, Volume 1: Government Subsidy and Conflicting Missions, Volume 2: Prospects for Controlling Growth and Expansion, AEI Press (Washington, DC), 2000, ISBN 0-8447-7137-6 (alk. paper), ISBN 0-8447-7138-4
  • (Editor) Serving Two Masters, Yet out of Control: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, AEI Press (Washington, DC), 2001, ISBN 0-8447-4166-3 (pbk.)
  • Serving Two Masters, Yet Out of Control: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Peter J. Wallison, editor. American Enterprise Institute. 2001. ISBN 978-0-8447-4166-6. Retrieved 2008-10-19.CS1 maint: others (link) 2 volumes of papers delivered at a conference on March 24, 1999 at the American Enterprise Institute, Washington, D.C.
  • Ronald Reagan: The Power of Conviction and the Success of His Presidency. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Westview Press. 2003. ISBN 978-0-8133-4046-3. Retrieved 2008-10-19.
  • "A Man Apart: Reagan had the right principles – and he stuck to them". 2004-06-05. Archived from the original on 2004-06-18. Retrieved 2008-10-19.
  • Competitive Equity: A Better Way to Organize Mutual Funds (AEI Press, 2007).
  • "Escape from New York". The American. American Enterprise Institute. 2008-02-20. Archived from the original on 2008-03-14. Retrieved 2008-10-19.
  • Contributor to periodicals, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Washington Post.
"Elitist Protection Consumers Don't Need". The Washington Post. 2009-07-13. Retrieved 2009-07-14.
"Obama Voted 'Present' on Mortgage Reform. The only banking 'deregulation' in recent years was that of Fan and Fred". Opinion Journal. 2008-10-15. Archived from the original on 2008-10-15. Retrieved 2008-01-30.
"How Paulson Would Save Fannie Mae". The Wall Street Journal. 2008-09-12. Archived from the original on 2008-09-14. Retrieved 2009-07-14.
"Reagan and McCain". American Spectator. 2008-01-08. Archived from the original on 2008-10-24. Retrieved 2008-01-30.
"What We Pre-Empted - Today's world would be far worse if Saddam were still in power". Opinion Journal. Wall Street Journal. 2007-07-11. Retrieved 2008-01-30.
"Reagan, Iraq, and Neoconservatism". American Spectator. 2004-04-16. Archived from the original on 2008-10-23. Retrieved 2008-01-30.
"Bush's Reagan Moment". The New York Times. 2003-10-26. Archived from the original on January 19, 2011. Retrieved 2009-07-13.


  1. ^ a b Boyd, Gerald M. (1987-03-13). "REAGAN COUNSEL RECOUNTS CHAOS OVER IRAN AFFAIR". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-19.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Final edited transcript, interview with Peter Wallison (PDF). Ronald Reagan Oral History Project. Jeff Chidester, Stephen F. Knott, Darby Morrisroe, Christine Nemacheck. Charlottesville, VA. 2006-01-13. Retrieved 2008-10-29.CS1 maint: others (link)
  3. ^ a b Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2008. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2008. Document Number: H1000155216 Dated 2004-08-25 Retrieved 2008-10-19. Fee.
  4. ^ a b c d "AEI - Scholars & Fellows - Peter J. Wallison". American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. Archived from the original on 2009-05-08. Retrieved 2008-10-19.
  5. ^ "Frieda K. Wallison." Marquis Who's Who TM. Marquis Who's Who, 2008. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2008. Document Number: K2016190560 Fee. Retrieved 2008-10-19.
  6. ^ a b Lamb, Brian (2008-09-14). "Q&A: Transcript with Peter Wallison, Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute". Archived from the original on October 4, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-19. (Please see also the link to the video, below.)
  7. ^ Heiman, Jeremy (2008-09-11). "P&Z to get a look at plans for two big housing projects". The Valley Journal. Carbondale, Colorado: Swift Communications. Archived from the original on July 17, 2011. Retrieved 2008-10-19.
  8. ^ "WEDDINGS; Kristina Kaplan, Jeremy Wallison". New York Times. 2000-08-13. Retrieved 2008-10-19.
  9. ^ a b c Woolley, John T.; Gerhard Peters (1981-05-15). "Nomination of Peter J. Wallison To Be General Counsel of the Department of the Treasury". The American Presidency Project (online database). Santa Barbara, California: University of California (hosted). Retrieved 2008-10-19.
  10. ^ Steven A. Holmes, "Fannie Mae Eases Credit to Aid Mortgage Lending," The New York Times (September 30, 1999).
  11. ^ Nocera, Joe, The Big Lie,, Dec. 23, 2011.
  12. ^ December 24, 2011 ("Joe Nocera gets mad")
  13. ^ Krugman, Paul, Fannie Freddie Forked Tongue, December 17, 2010
  14. ^ "Higher GSE Limits Would Hit Those Who Need Help". Archived from the original on November 1, 2012. Retrieved 2013-06-26.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link) | Peter J. Wallison, John J. Lafalce | American Banker|March 03, 2006
  15. ^ Nocera, Joe, Explaining the Crisis With Dogma,, December 17, 2010. Nocera quotes Wallison wroting in 2004: "Study after study have shown that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, despite full-throated claims about trillion-dollar commitments and the like, have failed to lead the private market in assisting the development and financing of affordable housing." Accessed 3 July 2013.
  16. ^ Wallison, Peter J., "Phil Angelides’s False Narrative",, June 29, 2011, retrieved Feb 7 2012.
  17. ^ Hidden in Plain Sight, page. Retrieved 2015-03-30.
  18. ^ Mulligan, Casey B., "Capitol Hill Pickpockets: Risky loans made by Fannie and Freddie were the biggest factor that led to the financial crisis—and the direct result of federal policy", Bookshelf, Wall Street Journal, February 24, 2015. Retrieved 2015-03-30.
  19. ^ "After Words with Peter Wallison" (video and uncorrected Closed Captioning transcript), interviewed by Sudeep Reddy Deputy Editor (Wall Street Journal), C-Span2, February 12, 2015. Rerun/retrieved 2015-03-30.
  • American Banker, August 14, 1992, Claudia Cummins, "Former Reagan Official Still Fighting for Banks, " p. 2.
  • Banker Monthly, September, 1990, Andrew Gray, review of Back from the Brink: A Practical Plan for Privatizing Deposit Insurance and Strengthening Our Banks and Thrifts, p. 87.
  • Journal of Economic Literature, June, 1991, review of Back from the Brink, p. 688.
  • Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 2002, review of Ronald Reagan: The Power of Conviction and the Success of His Presidency, p. 1604.
  • Publishers Weekly, November 18, 2002, review of Ronald Reagan, p. 50.
  • Wall Street Journal, December 24, 2002, Mary Anastasia O'Grady, review of Ronald Reagan.
  • Women's Wear Daily, February 19, 2003, Aileen Mehle, review of Ronald Reagan, p. 6.

External linksEdit

Legal offices
Preceded by
Fred Fielding
White House Counsel
Succeeded by
Arthur Culvahouse