Aside from running Mondale’s failed run for the White House against Ronald Reagan in 1984, Johnson was a key player in the presidential campaigns of Eugene McCarthy, Edmund Muskie and George McGovern.
He made his political genius successful in business. David O. Maxwell, former head of Fannie Mae, accepted Johnson as vice chairman in 1990, after Johnson helped the company thwart the privatization efforts of the Reagan administration. Johnson was promoted to chairman and CEO next year.
Johnson immediately focused his attention on maintaining the beneficial privileges of Fannie Mae’s government and ensuring that the new regulations are not overly burdensome. Johnson and his lobbyists helped draft a law in 1992 signed by President George HW Bush that aimed to reduce the chances of an expensive taxpayer bailout if Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had bad debts .
It also opened up a new era of home ownership for families who were previously unable to get mortgage loans.
After retiring from Fannie Mae in late 1998, Johnson served on the boards of several companies, including UnitedHealth Group, KB Home and Target, and became vice chairman of the Washington-persty firm Perseus. He has chaired the Stanford Center advisory council in Longevity since 2011.