Failed Fannie Mae Lobbyist Orchestrated Biden’s Takeover of U.S. Policy on China

In 1988, a lawyer named Thomas Donilon advised Sen. Joseph Biden’s presidential bid and then served as senior counsel on President Bill Clinton’s 1992 transition team. Donilon became Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs and participated in the expansion of NATO and relations between the U.S. and China. 

From 1995 to 2005, Donilon served as chief lobbyist of the Federal National Mortgage Association, better known as Fannie Mae. As CNN reported, Donilon left the government-sponsored enterprise before it imploded and “was forced to pay $400 million to the federal government for misstated earnings during his time there.” Donilon also attempted to interfere with an audit by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight and tried to launch a separate investigation into the OFHEO itself. 

In 2010, President Obama tapped Tom Donilon for National Security Advisor, which troubled Robert Scheer of The Nation. 

Why in the world would President Obama, whose legacy has been sabotaged by a housing crisis that Donilon helped create and conceal, have hired him to run the most sensitive position of public trust in his administration?” Donilon was a skilled political player, Scheer wrote, but as the president so often demonstrated, “it’s the top hustlers of whom he seems enamored.” 

As a senator and vice president, Joe Biden was never known as a China expert, much less as a critic of the Communist regime’s record on human rights. Even so, as The Atlantic reported in January, 2012, Tom Donilon “orchestrated” the move for Biden to “take the lead on the administration’s next phase China policy.” 

In a June, 2013, speech to the Asia Society, Donilon disagreed with the position that “a rising power and an established power are somehow destined for conflict” and alluded to “potential competition” between the United States and China. So Donilon is the likely source for Joe Biden’s 2019 claim that the Chinese Communists are “not bad folks, folks” and “not competition for us.”

Last November, CNN reported that Tom Donilon was a “leading contender” for director of the CIA, a post the former Fannie Mae lobbyist has reportedly turned down. As Bloomberg reports, Donilon’s wife Cathy Russell will be director of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel. According to the New York Times, the “defender of the Biden brand” in the new administration will be senior advisor Mike Donilon, who happens to be Tom Donilon’s brother. 

K. Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute and a columnist at American Greatness.
Beacon Posts by K. Lloyd Billingsley | Full Biography and Publications
  • Catalyst
  • Beyond Homeless