The two mortgage giants paid $174 million to lobbyists over the past ten years to ensure the political climate would remain friendly to growing the mortgage business - even as the housing bubble began showing signs of bursting, according to a report by the Center for Responsive Politics, a watchdog group.

"They tied up almost every lobbying firm in Washington, whether they used them or not, over the past several years," said Joshua Rosner, a financial analyst with Graham Fisher & Co. and long-time critic of both companies.

Expect to see a lot of "will lobby for food" signs in DC...

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