One of the mysteries raised by Freddie Mac’s illegal fund-raising is why the corporation didn’t do all this stuff legally. Although Freddie Mac isn’t allowed to participate in elections, nothing in the law prevents it from creating a political action committee so its employees can contribute to political campaigns. (The fiction codified in election law is that company PACs are not controlled by corporations, and that employees contribute to PACs of their own free will.) Yet Freddie Mac didn’t get around to creating a PAC until after Public Citizen, a Nader-affiliated nonprofit, filed a complaint about certain irregularities in Freddie Mac’s public filings to the FEC. Why did Freddie insist on working outside the law? Because it had every expectation that nobody would notice, opines Public Citizen’s Craig Holman. “No one was watching.” A likely reason the fine is so high is that the FEC, like everybody else in Washington, wants to show in the wake of the Jack Abramoff scandal that it doesn’t tolerate the routine corruptions of Washington’s lobbying culture. The heat is on.