A key Democrat said Thursday that he wants Armando Falcon Jr., the current regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to remain until his agency completes its investigation of Freddie's earnings restatement scandal.The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight's report on the scandal could be released as early as the week of Dec. 7. Speaking at a financial services conference, Sen. Paul Sarbanes, D-Md., the ranking minority member of the Senate Banking Committee, also noted that the nomination of Mark Brickell to succeed Mr. Falcon as the head of OFHEO "is complicated" by the fact that Congress is still considering major changes to revamping the government-sponsored enterprises' regulatory structure. "We have to consider what the regulatory structure is going to be for the GSEs," he said. Legislation to create a truly independent regulator for Fannie and Freddie will be a major priority of the committee in early 2004. The term of Mr. Falcon, a Democrat, expires next fall. He is one of few Clinton appointees still serving in the Bush administration.

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