Thursday, May 25, 2006

Smithsonian Secretary Lawrence M. Small has been barraged with criticism lately from Congress, historians and filmmakers who say his annual salary of $813,000 is too big and a secret contract barring much of the public from the institution's vast, taxpayer-supported archives unfair.

Now Small is being scrutinized in another drama, his role in the accounting fraud scandal at the Federal National Mortgage Association, where he was president, chief operating officer and board member from 1991 to 2000.

A new government report says Small was among a handful of senior Fannie Mae executives who set an improper "tone at the top," encouraging employees to hit profit targets ab
ove all else so that managers would receive the largest annual bonuses possible.