When my husband and I purchased our first home, in 1985, the mortgage was financed by Countrywide Financial. That name may sound familiar to you now, given the recent news coverage of the sub-prime mortgage 'crisis'. Allegedly, according to politicians like Barack Obama remarking on the campaign trail about Countrywide Financial CEO, Angelo Mozilo, the company takes advantage of "ignorant borrowers to make subprime loans it knew wouldn't be paid off and then selling the loans to the quasi-governmental Fannie Mae mortgage agency." That from Investor's Business Day on June 17, 2008.
Obama, the candidate of change, continues to surround himself with mouthpieces of the past. In particular, Jim Johnson, the man selected by the candidate of change to head up Obama's vice-presidential search committee, is a long time Democrate insider and, more importantly, money-man, had to leave the campaign as the scandal develops and Johnson's dealings with Mozilo and Countrywide are exposed.
Two high ranking Democrat Senators, Christopher Dodd who chairs the Senate Banking Committee, along with the tag of former Presidential candidate and now supporter of Obama, and Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota who chairs the Finance Committee and sits on the Budget Committee, have fallen into the net cast in by investigators.
Both Senators denied any sweetheart deals and as recently as last month, Dodd had the chutzpah to rant on, blaming President Bush for the subprime mortgage mess, as he was praising a $400 billion bail out for the industry, including his buddy Angelo. Yes, it's Bush's fault, it's always Bush's fault.
The one Republican named to date involved in improper activities is former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Alphonso Jackson. You'll note the 'former' designation. And, former Health and Human Serivices Secretary Donna Shalala and former U.N. ambassador and assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke, both from the Clinton administration and Holbrooke now an Obama advisor, also appear to have benefited as a Friend of Angelo. It appears Mr. Johnson was happy to refer the Washington insiders to Angelo.
Senator Dodd received two mortgages with no closing costs. The fixed rates were 4.25% and 4.5%. Senator Conrad said that he didn't 'know' Angelo. Then he had to admit that, well, he did call him and yes, he got a good deal. His deal? Low interest, no-cost loan for a $1 million beach getaway and another loan, a commercial loan that wasn't even offered to other customers, as Countrywide is a residential lender.
Conrad said, "I did not think for one moment - and no one ever suggested to me - that I was getting preferential treatment." Well now. Then, though he said no preferential treatment was given, Conrad pledged to give away $10,500 in mortgage savings to charity.
Senator Dodd admitted that he was told he'd get a VIP package, but he didn't think that was anything more than a courtesy. Yeah, it was a courtesy in my mind.
Any investigations going on with these two sitting Senators? No. The 'ethics committee' isn't certain that an investigation is necessary. Can you imagine if the two were Republicans?
These two sitting Senators are chairs of two committees directly responsible for legislation concerning the alleged mortgage crisis. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-TX, thinks an investigation is warranted. He's called for hearings to find out if anyone in Congress has received this preferential treatment on mortgages with Countrywide.
Remember when former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, was drummed out of his position due to an allegedly improper book deal? And then the book deal was found to be completely above board. And Gingrich returned the advance money anyway? Yeah, he's a Republican.
I found it interesting that these two sitting Senators were the ones named for the sweet deals. Dodd, always a pompous ass when it comes to self-righteous speeches on the Senate floor and Conrad, the go to guy on the budget for pontificating on the Senate floor. Those evil Republicans are so fast and loose with money.
One little piece of information that needs to go out to the public from the 537 page bill on mortgage bail-outs has to do with a fingerprint database that Democrats are putting into place. According to The Wall Street Journal, "A measure creating a federal fingerprint registry totally unrelated to national security or violent crime may clear the Senate with little debate. The legislation would require thousands of individuals not suspected of any wrongdoing to send their prints to the feds. This is a part of the bill scheduled for a vote tomorrow.
That's right. The blowhard Dems, so outraged that the Constitution has been shredded under this administration, that all of our civil rights have been trampled on (though no evidence of this has surfaced, only politics of defeatists as usual), put in this provision: "an individual may not engage in the business of a loan originator without first obtaining a unique identifier. An individual is required to furnish to the newly created Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry information concerning the applicant's identity, including fingerprints that will be sent to the FBI and other government agencies." So it's bonus time on Capitol Hill - a new government agency and a new database to leak personal data when it is politically opportune.
This term 'loan originator' is odd. It covers "employees working for mortgage lenders and brokers and real estate firms, including clerical employees, part-time and seasonal workers. An originator is defined as anyone who takes a residential loan application; and offers or negotiates terms of a residential mortgage loan for compensation or gain. Real estate agents are also covered if they receive any type of compensation from originators." Hmm.
Does targeting low level employees help in any way to prosecute those accused of wrongdoing at the top, making the big bucks off corrupt business practices?
Among the 14 sponsors of the Senate's S.A.F.E. Mortgage Licensing Act introduced in February, where the fingerprint provision was originally placed into legislation, were 2 Republicans, Mel Martinez of Florida and Elizabeth Dole of N.C. What are they thinking? The others, Democrats, included Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Surprised? Yeah. Me, either.
Investigate Dodd and Conrad and have them step down from the chairmanships of the relevant committees in the meantime. Maybe that will speed up the stalling currently going on in D.C. The issue isn't going away.