Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac spent more than $640,000 this fall to send 100 employees to a mortgage-industry conference in Chicago, a decision that they have defended, The Wall Street Journal reported.
According to the newspaper, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees the two mortgage companies, outlined the costs in a letter to Representative Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas).
Neugebauer had sought details on the conference, and found the spending habits for the two agencies to be "lavish."
The Federal housing regulator "has special responsibility to make sure that Fannie and Freddie are run responsibly and in a way that minimizes taxpayer losses," Neugebauer said after receiving the letter from the agency.
According to the Journal, the spending included up to $342,000 for travel, food, hotel and meeting-room space and $74,000 on four dinners for mortgage-lending companies.
The Associated Press reported that the Fitch ratings agency will likely lower its outlook for debts linked to the government. This number includes the deficits of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.