Politics

Former Rep. Mel Watt Disappeared Into New Job. Now He’s Back

Since becoming FHFA director, Watt has kept a low profile. (AP Photo)
Mel Watt (AP Photo)

On a recent afternoon, the nation’s top housing overseer, former Rep. Mel Watt, looked out his office window at the U.S. Capitol in the distance. The majestic dome appears much smaller than it did from his old congressional office, where he could almost lean out and touch the Statue of Freedom crowning the historic building.

He doesn’t miss the view. “This is close enough,” he deadpanned.

The long-time Charlotte, N.C., congressman seemed to disappear for the past year and a half since becoming a top federal housing regulator as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency last year. There was no farewell press conference. No district tour back home. No victory lap.

But Watt, 69, has re-emerged from the shadows, though not necessarily willingly. He’s facing criticism in his new role for approving multimillion-dollar raises for his agency’s finance executives while not doing more to slow the tide of foreclosures on struggling homeowners.

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