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Lobbyists from four of Washington, D.C.’s elite advocacy outfits are polishing their silver tongues and buffing their Guccis as they prepare to take on the town bullies of the lobby world, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, in what promises to be one of the biggest and messiest political brawls of the next few years.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are renowned for using high-pressure lobbying tactics to fend off regulation and maintain the special status that has helped them grow into two of the nation’s largest financial institutions. Congressional staff and federal regulators who have run up against the pair tell tales of heavy-handed intimidation that are unusual even in Washington’s rough-and-tumble lobbying culture.

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