Posts Tagged ‘Chris Dodd’

Why Did Our Economy Melt Down In 2008? (Email This To Your Friends)

October 25, 2010

Note: I did not write the following; I am only passing it along.  I hope you read it and then pass it along as well.

Remember the LONG-TERM Causes of the Financial Sector Meltdown (an email pre-formatted for sending)
FreedomKeys.com ^ | 20101010 | various
Posted on 10/23/2010 12:49:32 PM PDT by FreeKeys

Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights?
by novelist Orson Scott Card, a Democrat
_________
.. This [financial crisis] was completely foreseeable and in fact many people did foresee it.  One political party, in Congress and in the executive branch, tried repeatedly to tighten up the rules.  The other party blocked every such attempt and tried to loosen them.
..
Furthermore, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were making political contributions to the very members of Congress who were allowing them to make irresponsible loans.  (Though why quasi-federal agencies were allowed to do so baffles me.  It’s as if the Pentagon were allowed to contribute to the political campaigns of Congressmen who support increasing their budget.) …
..
If you who produce our local daily paper actually had any principles, you would be pounding this story, because the prosperity of all Americans was put at risk by the foolish, short-sighted, politically selfish, and possibly corrupt actions of leading Democrats, including Obama.
..
If you who produce our local daily paper had any personal honor, you would find it unbearable to let the American people believe that somehow Republicans were to blame for this crisis. …
..
So I ask you now: Do you have any standards at all?  Do you even know what honesty means?
..
[Was] getting people to vote for Barack Obama so important that you will throw away everything that journalism is supposed to stand for? …
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… tell the truth about John McCain: that he tried, as a Senator, to do what it took to prevent this crisis.  You will tell the truth about President Bush: that his administration tried more than once to get Congress to regulate lending in a responsible way.
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This was a Congress-caused crisis, beginning during the Clinton administration, with Democrats leading the way into the crisis and blocking every effort to get out of it in a timely fashion.
..
If you at our local daily newspaper continue to let Americans believe — and vote as if — President Bush and the Republicans caused the crisis, then you are joining in that lie.
– Novelist Orson Scott Card, a Democrat, on October 5, 2008,HERE
..
.. The Financial Sector Meltdown ..
1.  Almost all of the financial problems we see today are based on bad mortgage lending.  That would be lending money to people to buy homes who didn’t qualify for a loan.
..
2.  The Democrats, under Clinton, strengthened a government-created monster called the “Community Reinvestment Act” [first foisted upon the country under Jimmy Carter].  This law was then used by “activists” and “community organizers” …  to coerce lending institutions to make these bad loans … millions of them.
..
3.  Now we see what happens when political “wisdom” supplants good loan underwriting.  When private financial institutions are virtually forced to make loans to people with a bad credit and job history … this is what you get.  Enjoy it. — Neal Boortz, here ..


.
Enough cards on this table have been turned over that the story is now clear. The economic history books will describe this episode in simple and understandable terms: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac exploded, and many bystanders were injured in the blast, some fatally.
..
Fannie and Freddie did this by becoming a key enabler of the mortgage crisis. They fueled Wall Street’s efforts to securitize subprime loans by becoming the primary customer of all AAA-rated subprime-mortgage pools. In addition, they held an enormous portfolio of mortgages themselves.
..
In the times that Fannie and Freddie couldn’t make the market, they became the market.
.. — Kevin Hassett, Bloomberg News, here ..

 


.. Obama choice helped Fannie block oversight
National security adviser tied to discrediting of probe ..
By Jim McElhatton, The Washington Times,October 13, 2010 here
..
UNDER SCRUTINY: Thomas E. Donilon worked as a registered lobbyist for Fannie Mae from 1999 to 2005.
..
Years before Fannie Mae foundered amid a massive accounting scandal, President Obama’s choice for national security adviser oversaw an office inside the mortgage giant that orchestrated a negative publicity blitz to fight attempts by Congress to increase government oversight, records show.
..
Thomas E. Donilon, who won the job as national security adviser this month, worked as a registered lobbyist for Fannie Mae from 1999 to 2005 at a time the company’s officials insisted finances were sound. He also earned more than $1.8 million in bonuses [from Frannie Mae] before the government took over the troubled company in the wake of an accounting scandal.
..
Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Mr. Obama, who railed against lobbyists on the campaign trail, hailed Mr. Donilon’s appointment last week, but made no mention of his time as a registered lobbyist.st wee
..

 


..
Democrats and some [big-government] Republicans opposed reform in part because Fannie and Freddie were very good at greasing palms. Fannie has spent $170 million on lobbying since 1998 and $19.3 million on political contributions since 1990.
..
The principal recipient of Fannie Mae’s largesse was a Democrat, Sen. Chris Dodd (D, CT), chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. No. 2 was another Democrat, Sen. Barack Obama (D, IL).
..
Mr. Dodd was also the second largest recipient in the Senate of contributions from Countrywide’s political action committee and its employees, and the recipient of a home loan from Countrywide at well below market rates.  The No. 1 senator on Countrywide’s list? Barack Obama. Check it out here:  http://tinyurl.com/4h9955
..

 


..
“Congressman Frank and Senator Dodd wanted the government to push financial institutions to lend to people they would not lend to otherwise, because of the risk of default.
..
“The idea that politicians can assess risks better than people who have spent their whole careers assessing risks should have been so obviously absurd that no one would take it seriously.” — Dr. Thomas Sowell, Professor Emeritus, Economics, Stanford University, HERE
..

 


..
When the Bush administration tried to rein in Freddie and Fannie from continuing to engage in risky practices, guess who stepped in to block their efforts? Democratic senators Chris Dodd, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and — are you ready? — Barack Obama.
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Meanwhile, guess who were the top four recipients of campaign contributions from Fannie and Freddie between 1988 and 2008?
..
Senators Chris Dodd, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and — still ready? — Barack Obama.
..
A coincidence, I tell you — just a coincidence.
..
More mere coincidences: Franklin Raines — a former Carter- and Clinton-administration official and former head of Fannie Mae, now under investigation for cooking its books — had a lot of powerful people in Congress beholden to his agency. Here is a list of his campaign-contribution recipients. Meanwhile, Democratic honcho Jim Johnson, another former Fannie Mae CEO, has been an economic adviser to and major fundraiser for Barack Obama, and even ran his vice-presidential search committee until growing scandals over his Fannie management forced him to step down in July. – Robert Bidinotto, here ..

 


..
On May 25, 2006, Sen. John McCain spoke forcefully on behalf of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005.  He said on the floor of the Senate:
..
“Mr. President, this week Fannie Mae’s regulator reported that the company’s quarterly reports of profit growth over the past few years were “illusions deliberately and systematically created” by the company’s senior management, which resulted in a $10.6 billion accounting scandal.
..
“The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight’s report goes on to say that Fannie Mae employees deliberately and intentionally manipulated financial reports to hit earnings targets in order to trigger bonuses for senior executives. In the case of Franklin Raines, Fannie Mae’s former chief executive officer, OFHEO’s report shows that over half of Mr. Raines’ compensation for the 6 years through 2003 was directly tied to meeting earnings targets. The report of financial misconduct at Fannie Mae echoes the deeply troubling $5 billion profit restatement at Freddie Mac.
..
” The OFHEO report also states that Fannie Mae used its political power to lobby Congress in an effort to interfere with the regulator’s examination of the company’s accounting problems. This report comes some weeks after Freddie Mac paid a record $3.8 million fine in a settlement with the Federal Election Commission and restated lobbying disclosure reports from 2004 to 2005. These are entities that have demonstrated over and over again that they are deeply in need of reform.
..
“For years I have been concerned about the regulatory structure that governs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac–known as Government-sponsored entities or GSEs–and the sheer magnitude of these companies and the role they play in the housing market. OFHEO’s report this week does nothing to ease these concerns. In fact, the report does quite the contrary. OFHEO’s report solidifies my view that the GSEs need to be reformed without delay.
..
“I join as a cosponsor of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, S. 190, to underscore my support for quick passage of GSE regulatory reform legislation. If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole.
..
“I urge my colleagues to support swift action on this GSE reform legislation.”
..
It died at the hands of the DEMOCRATS —
HERE’s a video clip showing their anger.
..

 


..
“Many politicians and pundits claim that the credit crunch and high mortgage foreclosure rate is an example of market failure and want government to step in to bail out creditors and borrowers at the expense of taxpayers who prudently managed their affairs. These financial problems are not market failures but government failure.The credit crunch and foreclosure problems are failures of government policy.” — Dr. Walter E. Williams, the John M. Olin distinguished professor of economics at George Mason University, HERE
..

 


..
“Barack Obama wasn’t just the second-largest recipient of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac political contributions. He was also the senator from ACORN, the activist leader for risky ‘affirmative action’ loans. … [The CRA] gave groups such as ACORN a license and a means to intimidate banks … ACORN employed its tactics in 1991 by taking over the House Banking Committee room for two days to protest efforts to scale back the CRA. … Obama represented ACORN in a 1994 suit against redlining.  ACORN was also a driving force behind a 1995 regulatory revision pushed through by the Clinton administration that greatly expanded the CRA and helped spawn the current financial crisis. Obama was the attorney representing ACORN in this effort.” — IBD Editorials
..
“The Woods Fund report makes it clear Obama was fully aware of the intimidation tactics used by ACORN’s Madeline Talbott in her pioneering [“community organizer”] efforts to force banks to suspend their usual credit standards. Yet he supported Talbott in every conceivable way. He trained her personal staff and other aspiring ACORN leaders, he consulted with her extensively, and he arranged a major boost in foundation funding [via CAC and Woods Fund] for her efforts.” — Stanley Kurtz, “BARACK’S ‘ORGAANIZER’ BUDS PUSHED FOR BAD MORTGAGES”HERE
.

 


.
Bloomberg News has an excellent recap of
the history of the financial meltdown:.HERE.
.

 


 

Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama
not shown: Bill Clinton


..

 


“Scratch the surface of an endemic problem — famine, illness, poverty —  and you invariably find a politician at the source.” —  Simon Carr

 


“One of the methods used by statists to destroy capitalism consists in establishing controls that tie a given industry hand and foot, making it unable to solve its problems, then declaring that freedom has failed and stronger controls are necessary.” — Ayn Rand

 


“I think that we all need to consider the possibility … just the possibility … that Obama is engaged in a conscious effort to destroy our free market economy so that he can build a government-controlled socialist party on the rubble.” — Neal Boortz, here
[Conscious effort or not, we have an emergency on our hands.]

 

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Who REALLY Exploded Your Economy, Liberals Or Conservatives?

August 3, 2009

From Mark Levin’s Liberty and Tyranny, pages 67-71:

From where does the Statist acquire his clairvoyance in determining what is good for the public?  From his ideology.  The Statist is constantly manipulating public sentiment in a steady effort to disestablish the free market, as he pushes the nation down tyranny’s road.  He has built an enormous maze of government agencies and programs, which grow inexorably from year to year, and which intervene in and interfere with the free market.  And when the Statist’s central planners create economic perversions that are seriously detrimental to the public, he blames the free market and insists on seizing additional authority to correct the failures created at his own direction.

Consider the four basic events that led to the housing bust of 2008, which spread to the financial markets and beyond:

EVENT 1: In 1977, Congress passed the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) to address alleged discrimination by banks in making loans to poor people and minorities in the inner cities (redlining).  The act provided that banks have “an affirmative obligation” to meet the credit needs of the communities in which they are chartered.1 In 1989, Congress amended the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act requiring banks to collect racial data on mortgage applications.2 University of Texas economics professor Stan Liebowitz has written that “minority mortgage applications were rejected more frequently than other applications, but the overwhelming reason wasn’t racial discrimination, but simply that minorities tend to have weaker finances.”3 Liebowitz also condemns a 1992 study conducted by the Boston Federal Reserve Bank that alleged systemic discrimination.  “That study was tremendously flawed.  A colleague and I … showed that the data it had used contained thousands of egregious typos, such as loans with negative interest rates.  Our study found no evidence of discrimination.”4 However, the study became the standard on which government policy was based.

In 1995, the Clinton administration’s Treasury Department issued regulations tracking loans by neighborhoods, income groups, and races to rate the performance of banks.  The ratings were used by regulators to determine whether the government would approve bank mergers, acquisitions, and new branches.5 The regulations also encouraged Statist-aligned groups, such as the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) and the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, to file petitions with regulators, or threaten to, to slow or even prevent banks from conducting their business by challenging the extent to which banks were issuing these loans.  With such powerful leverage over banks, some groups were able, in effect, to legally extort banks to make huge pools of money available to the groups, money they in turn used to make loans.  The banks and community groups issued loans to low-income individuals who often had bad credit or insufficient income.  And these loans, which became known as “subprime” loans, made available 100 percent financing, did not always require the use of credit scores, and were even made without documenting income.6 Therefore, the government insisted that banks, particularly those that wanted to expand, abandon traditional underwriting standards.  One estimate puts the figure of CRA-eligible loans at $4.5 trillion.7

EVENT 2: In 1992, the Department of Housing and Urban Development pressured two government-chartered corporations – known as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae – to purchase (or “securitize”) large bundles of these loans for the conflicting purposes of diversifying the risks and making even more money available to banks to make further risky loans.  Congress also passed the Federal Housing Enterprises Financial Safety and Soundness Act, eventually mandating that these companies buy 45% of all loans from people of low and moderate incomes.8 Consequently, a SECONDARY MARKET was created for these loans.  And in 1995, the Treasury Department established the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, which provided banks with tax dollars to encourage even more risky loans.

For the Statist, however, this was still not enough.  Top congressional Democrats, including Representative Barney Frank (Massachusetts), Senator Christopher Dodd (Connecticut), and Senator Charles Schumer (New York), among others, repeatedly ignored warnings of pending disaster, insisting that they were overstated, and opposed efforts to force Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to comply with usual business and oversight practices.9 And the top executives of these corporations, most of whom had worked in or with Democratic administrations, resisted reform while they were actively cooking the books in order to award themselves tens of millions of dollars in bonuses.10

EVENT 3: A by-product of this government intervention and social engineering was a financial instrument called the “derivative,” which turned the subprime mortgage market into a ticking time bomb that could magnify the housing bust by orders of magnitude.  A derivative is a contract where one party sells the risk associated with the mortgage to another party in exchange for payments to that company based on the value of the mortgage.  In some cases, investors who did not even make the loans would bet on whether the loans would be subject to default.  Although imprecise, perhaps derivatives in this context can best be understood as a form of insurance.  Derivatives allowed commercial and investment banks, individual companies, and private investors to further spread – and ultimately multiply – the risk associated with their mortgages.  Certain financial and insurance institutions invested heavily in derivatives, such as American International Group (AIG).11

EVENT 4:  The Federal Reserve Board’s role in the housing boom-and-bust cannot be overstated.  The Pacific Research Institute’s Robert P. Murphy explains that “[the Federal Reserve] slashed rates repeatedly starting in January 2001, from 6.5 percent until they reached a low in June 2003 of 1.0 percent.  (In nominal terms, this was the lowest the target rate had been in the entire data series maintained by the St. Louis Federal Reserve, going back to 1982)….  When the easy-money policy became too inflationary for comfort, the Fed (under [Alan] Greenspan and the then new Chairman Ben Bernanke at the end) began a steady process of raising interest rates back up, from 1.0 percent in June 2004 to 5.25 percent in June 2006….”12 Therefore, when the Federal Reserve abandoned its role as steward of the monetary system and used interest rates to artificially and inappropriately manipulate the housing market, it interfered with normal market conditions and contributed to destabilizing the economy.

————————————————————————————————

1 Howard Husock, “The Trillion-Dollar Shakedown that Bodes Ill for Cities,” City Journal, Winter 2000.

2 Stan Liebowitz, “The Real Scandal,” New York Post, Feb. 5, 2008.

3 Ibid.

4 Ibid.

5 Howard Husock, “The Financial Crisis and the CRA,” City Journal, Oct. 30, 2008.

6 Liebowitz, “The Real Scandal.”

7 Husock, “The Financial Crisis and the CRA.”

8 Ibid.

9 Editorial, “Fannie Mae’s Patron Saint,” Wall Street Journal, Sept. 10, 2008; Joseph Goldstein, “Pro-Deregulation Schumer Scores Bush For Lack of Regulation,” New York Sun, Sept. 22, 2008; Robert Novack, “Crony Image Dogs Paulson’s Rescue Effort,” Chicago-Sun Times, July 17, 2008.

10 Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, “Report of the Special Examination of Freddie Mac,” Dec. 2003; Office of Federal Housing Oversight, “Report of the Special Examination of Fannie Mae,” May 2006.

11 Lynnley Browning, “AIG’s House of Cards,” Portfolio.com, Sept. 28, 2008.

12 Robert P. Murphy, “The Fed’s Role in the Housing Bubble,” Pacific Research Institute blog.

The government links from footnote 10 have been purged (and I COUNT on left-leaning “news” sources to purge stories that reveal the left for what it is), but there is plenty of evidence that a) Fannie and Freddie were firmly in the hands of Democrats; b) that Democrats and Fannie/Freddie at least twice resisted reforms by President Bush and Republicans; and c) that Fannie and Freddie executives – who were deeply involved with Democrat activismactively cooked the books to obtain huge bonuses prior to the disastrous crash.  We can also demonstrate d) that Barack Obama and Chris Dodd were involved with corrupt Fannie and Freddie (and Obama and Dodd were also receiving large contributions from corrupt Lehman Bros. even as Obama was getting a sweetheart mortgage deal from corrupt Tony Rezko while Chris Dodd was getting sweetheart mortgage deasl from corrupt Countrywide) right up to the tops of their pointy little heads.

When one examines the actual factors that led to the housing mortgage meltdown (as Mark Levin documents), when one examines the Democrat’s patent refusal to even accept that there was even a problem with Fannie and Freddie – much less allow any regulation – prior to the ensuing disaster, and when one examines the record to see which politicians were receiving money from the parties most responsible for the disaster, there is clearly only one party to blame: the Democrat Party.

And they are right back to all their old tricks.  It was rampant and insane spending that got us into this financial black hole – and they want MORE on top of MORE spending.  Meanwhile, Democrats such as Barney Frank are hard at work trying to create the NEXT massively destructive housing bubble, ACORN is trying to seize houses from rightful owners in the name of the “poor,” liberals are making moral hazard that rewards recklessness and irresponsibility and punishes frugality and responsibility official government policy , even as the Obama administration is creating “solutions” to the foreclosure issue that have abjectly failed.

Rampant Democrat Corruption Extends To Most Powerful Leaders

July 29, 2009

Right now, three of the most powerful Democrats are documented corrupt scumbags.

Charles Rangel, Chairman of the powerful tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee is a tax cheat.  Chris Dodd, the Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, took corrupt mortgage loans from a corrupt mortgage lender at the epicenter of the mortgage meltdown crisis.  Kent Conrad, the Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, also took such loans.

These men are incredibly influential in the writing of laws and legislation that will absorb most of the economy under their power.  And they are corrupt.

We were entertained at the beginning of the Obama administration as it became painfully obvious that it was hard to find an honest Democrat who actually paid the taxes that they hypocritically wanted everyone else to pay.  Many fell by the wayside, but “Turbo Tax” Tim Geithner’s personal dishonesty in paying his taxes didn’t stand in the way of his being Obama’s choice to become the Treasury Secretary in charge of enforcing tax laws.

Let’s start with the man who writes your tax laws but doesn’t want to follow his own laws and pay his own taxes: Charles Rangel.

The man has all kinds of issues, such as selfishly and greedily taking rent-controlled property meant for poor people.  It’s hard to say which is worse, but don’t forget to consider what he did in buying pricey beachfront rental property and then refusing to pay taxes on his substantial income:

JULY 27, 2009, 4:28 P.M. ET

Morality and Charlie Rangel’s Taxes
It’s much easier to raise taxes if you don’t pay them.

Ever notice that those who endorse high taxes and those who actually pay them aren’t the same people? Consider the curious case of Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel, who is leading the charge for a new 5.4-percentage point income tax surcharge and recently called it “the moral thing to do.” About his own tax liability he seems less, well, fervent.

Exhibit A concerns a rental property Mr. Rangel purchased in 1987 at the Punta Cana Yacht Club in the Dominican Republic. The rental income from that property ought to be substantial since it is a luxury beach-front villa and is more often than not rented out. But when the National Legal and Policy Center looked at Mr. Rangel’s House financial disclosure forms in August, it noted that his reported income looked suspiciously low. In 2004 and 2005, he reported no more than $5,000, and in 2006 and 2007 no income at all from the property.

The Congressman initially denied there was any unreported income. But reporters quickly showed that the villa is among the most desirable at Punta Cana and that it rents for $500 a night in the low season, and as much as $1,100 a night in peak season. Last year it was fully booked between December 15 and April 15.

Mr. Rangel soon admitted having failed to report rental income of $75,000 over the years. First he blamed his wife for the oversight because he said she was supposed to be managing the property. Then he blamed the language barrier. “Every time I thought I was getting somewhere, they’d start speaking Spanish,” Mr. Rangel explained.

Mr. Rangel promised last fall to amend his tax returns, pay what is due and correct the information on his annual financial disclosure form. But the deadline for the 2008 filing was May 15 and as of last week he still had not filed. His press spokesman declined to answer questions about anything related to his ethics problems.

Besides not paying those pesky taxes, Mr. Rangel had other reasons for wanting to hide income. As the tenant of four rent-stabilized apartments in Harlem, the Congressman needed to keep his annual reported income below $175,000, lest he be ineligible as a hardship case for rent control. (He also used one of the apartments as an office in violation of rent-control rules, but that’s another story.)

Mr. Rangel said last fall that “I never had any idea that I got any income’’ from the villa. Try using that one the next time the IRS comes after you. Equally interesting is his claim that he didn’t know that the developer of the Dominican Republic villa had converted his $52,000 mortgage to an interest-free loan in 1990. That would seem to violate House rules on gifts, which say Members may only accept loans on “terms that are generally available to the public.” Try getting an interest-free loan from your banker.

The National Legal and Policy Center also says it has confirmed that Mr. Rangel owned a home in Washington from 1971-2000 and during that time claimed a “homestead” exemption that allowed him to save on his District of Columbia property taxes. However, the homestead exemption only applies to a principal residence, and the Washington home could not have qualified as such since Mr. Rangel’s rent-stabilized apartments in New York have the same requirement.

The House Ethics Committee is investigating Mr. Rangel on no fewer than six separate issues, including his failure to report the no-interest loan on his Punta Cana villa and his use of rent-stabilized apartments. It is also investigating his fund raising for the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at City College of New York. New York labor attorney Theodore Kheel, one of the principal owners of the Punta Cana resort, is an important donor to the Rangel Center.

All of this has previously appeared in print in one place or another, and we salute the reporters who did the leg work. We thought we’d summarize it now for readers who are confronted with the prospect of much higher tax bills, and who might like to know how a leading Democrat defines “moral” behavior when the taxes hit close to his homes.

Charlie Rangel is a man who has been patently dishonest for his entire public life.  Not that it matters to Democrats.  If you’re a Democrat, you can be caught red-handed with $90,000 of FBI bribe money in your freezer like William Jefferson and actually get re-elected the following year.

That leaves Chris Dodd and Kent Conrad (at least, for me today).

AP IMPACT: Dodd, Conrad told deals were sweetened

By LARRY MARGASAK, Associated Press Writer Larry Margasak, Associated Press Writer – Mon Jul 27, 9:52 pm ET

WASHINGTON – Despite their denials, influential Democratic Sens. Kent Conrad and Chris Dodd were told from the start they were getting VIP mortgage discounts from one of the nation’s largest lenders, the official who handled their loans has told Congress in secret testimony.

Both senators have said that at the time the mortgages were being written they didn’t know they were getting unique deals from Countrywide Financial Corp., the company that went on to lose billions of dollars on home loans to credit-strapped borrowers. Dodd still maintains he got no preferential treatment.

Dodd got two Countrywide mortgages in 2003, refinancing his home in Connecticut and another residence in Washington. Conrad’s two Countrywide mortgages in 2004 were for a beach house in Delaware and an eight-unit apartment building in Bismarck in his home state of North Dakota.

Robert Feinberg, who worked in Countrywide’s VIP section, told congressional investigators last month that the two senators were made aware that “who you know is basically how you’re coming in here.”

“You don’t say ‘no’ to the VIP,” Feinberg told Republican investigators for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, according to a transcript obtained by The Associated Press.

The next day, Feinberg testified before the Senate Ethics Committee, an indication the panel is actively investigating two of the chamber’s more powerful members:

Dodd heads the Banking Committee and is a major player in two big areas: solving the housing foreclosure and financial crises and putting together an overhaul of the U.S. health care system. A five-term senator, he is in a tough fight for re-election in 2010, partly because of the controversy over his mortgages.

Conrad chairs the Budget Committee. He, too, shares an important role in the health care debate, as well as on legislation to curb global warming.

Both senators were VIP borrowers in the program known as “friends of Angelo.” Angelo Mozilo was chief executive of Countrywide, which played a big part in the foreclosure crisis triggered by defaults on subprime loans. The Calabasas, Calif.-based company was bought last July by Bank of America Corp. for about $2.5 billion.

Mozilo has been charged with civil fraud and illegal insider trading by the Securities and Exchange Commission. He denies any wrongdoing.

Asked by a House Oversight investigator if Conrad, the North Dakota senator, “was aware that he was getting preferential treatment?” Feinberg answered: “Yes, he was aware.”

Referring to Dodd, the investigator asked:

“And do you know if during the course of your communications” with the senator or his wife “that you ever had an opportunity to share with them if they were getting special VIP treatment?”

“Yes, yes,” Feinberg replied. […]

Countrywide VIPs, Feinberg told the committees, received discounts on rates, fees and points. Dodd received a break when Countrywide counted both his Connecticut and Washington homes as primary owner-occupied residences — a fiction, according to Feinberg. Conrad received a type of commercial loan that he was told Countrywide didn’t offer.

“The simple fact that Angelo Mozilo and other high-ranking executives at Countrywide were personally making sure Mr. Feinberg handled their loans right, is proof in itself that the senators knew they were getting sweetheart deals,” said Feinberg’s principal attorney, Anthony Salerno.

Two internal Countrywide documents in Dodd’s case and one in Conrad’s appear to contradict their statements about what they knew about their VIP loans.

At his Feb. 2 news conference, Dodd said he knew he was in a VIP program but insisted he was told by Countrywide, “It was nothing more than enhanced customer service … being able to get a person on the phone instead of an automated operator.”

He insisted he didn’t receive special treatment. However, the assertion was at odds with two Countrywide documents entitled “Loan Policy Analysis” that Dodd allowed reporters to review the same day.

The documents had separate columns: one showing points “actl chrgd” Dodd — zero; and a second column showing “policy” was to charge .250 points on one loan and .375 points on the other. Another heading on the documents said “reasons for override.” A notation under that heading identified a Countrywide section that approved the policy change for Dodd.

Mortgage points, sometimes called loan origination fees, are upfront fees based on a percentage of the loan. Each point is equal to 1 percent of the loan. The higher the points the lower the interest rate.

Dodd said he obtained the Countrywide documents in 2008, to learn details of his mortgages.

In Conrad’s case, an e-mail from Feinberg to Mozilo indicates Feinberg informed Conrad that Countrywide had a residential loan limit of a four-unit building. Conrad sought to finance an eight-unit apartment building in Bismarck that he had bought from his brothers.

“I did advise him I would check with you first since our maximum is 4 units,” Feinberg said in an April 23, 2004, internal e-mail to Mozilo.

Mozilo responded the same day that Feinberg should speak to another Countrywide executive and “see if he can make an exception due to the fact that the borrower is a senator.”

Feinberg said in his deposition with House Oversight investigators last month that exceptions for the type of loan Conrad received were not allowed for borrowers outside the VIP system.

“If there was a regular customer calling, and of course you say, ‘No, we’re a residential lender. We cannot provide you with that service,'” Feinberg said.

Feinberg also told House investigators that Countrywide counted both of Dodd’s homes as primary residences.

“He was allowed to do both of those as owner-occupied, which is not allowed. You can only have one owner-occupied property. You can’t live in two properties at the same time,” he said.

Normally, Feinberg said, a second home could require more equity and could have a higher mortgage rate.

Rep. Darrell Issa of California, the senior Republican on the House Oversight Committee, had his investigators question Feinberg as part of a broader investigation into Countrywide’s VIP program.

Other names that have surfaced as “friends” of Mozilo include James Johnson, a former head of Fannie Mae who later stepped down as an adviser to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, and Franklin Raines, who also headed Fannie Mae. Still other “friends” included retired athletes, a judge, a congressional aide and a newspaper executive.

Conrad initially said in June 2008, “If they did me a favor, they did it without my knowledge and without my requesting it.”

The next day, Conrad changed course after reviewing documents showing he got special treatment, and said he was donating $10,500 to charity and refinancing the loan on the apartment building with another lender. He also said then it appeared Countrywide had waived 1 point at closing on the beach house.

Gaddie said Feinberg has previously made statements to the news media that Countrywide waived 1 point without the senator’s knowledge.

Feinberg testified that VIPs usually were not told exactly how many points were being waived, but it was made clear to them that they were getting discounts.

And, of course, Barack Obama has his own sweetheart mortgage deal with his own scumbag, Tony Rezko.  Not to mention all kinds of other skeletons in his “Chicago Way” closet that were never investigated by a clearly biased press.  A lot of the most obvious corruption occurs through his wife Michelle Obama, who kept getting paid more and more on hospital boards as Obama advanced politically.  On hospitals that did some really nasty things, such as patient dumping which she might have participated in.

Democrats cry day after day that what the world needs is more government.

But consider something: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

No entity wields more absolute power, or is more corrupt, than government.

Democrats tell us every day that they are out to save us from evil big businesses.  But there is no one to save us from Democrats, or the intrusive giant octopus federal government behemoth they are seeking to create and empower to rule over virtually every aspect of our lives.

Democrats Refused To Regulate GSEs, Created Financial Tsunami

September 29, 2008

Over the past several days, the airwaves have been flooded with statements by Democrats and by the media “intelligentsia” that the financial crisis was created due to the atmosphere of deregulation that dominated during the last 8 years of the Bush administration and Republican rule.  It sounds right – Republicans generally DO favor fewer regulations which all too often stagnate business and reduce our competitiveness in a global marketplace – but in this case it is simply false.  And Democrats who point the finger of blame at Republicans over deregulation of the finance industry are lying to you.

We can begin by looking at leading Democrat Charles Schumers’ incredibly disingenuous and patently demagogic statements blaming Republicans for “a lack of regulation”:

Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York says a lack of regulation by the Bush administration is responsible for the current economic troubles. The New York Sun reports Schumer says, “Eight years of deregulatory zeal by the Bush administration, an attitude of ‘the market can do no wrong,’ have led us down a short path to economic recession.”

But Schumer fails to mention he has been a leading voice of deregulation. The Sun reports he championed the repeal in 1999 of the Glass-Steagall Act, the law which separated commercial and investment banking.

He also wrote an opinion piece for The Wall Street Journal in 2006 which warned about what he called “overzealous regulators” and opposed a bill in 2005 that would have transformed Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae from large investment funds into “conduits” that only bought mortgages, packaged them into securities and sold them on the market.

We can go back to 2003 to see just how fallacious the Democrats charge against Republicans are.  In 2003, President Bush tried to implement regulatory reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which were at the epicenter of the current housing financial crisis.  In the words of a New York Times story:

Fannie Mae, which was previously known as the Federal National Mortgage Association, and Freddie Mac, which was the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, have been criticized by rivals for exerting too much influence over their regulators.

”The regulator has not only been outmanned, it has been outlobbied,” said Representative Richard H. Baker, the Louisiana Republican who has proposed legislation similar to the administration proposal and who leads a subcommittee that oversees the companies. ”Being underfunded does not explain how a glowing report of Freddie’s operations was released only hours before the managerial upheaval that followed. This is not world-class regulatory work.”

Significant details must still be worked out before Congress can approve a bill. Among the groups denouncing the proposal today were the National Association of Home Builders and Congressional Democrats who fear that tighter regulation of the companies could sharply reduce their commitment to financing low-income and affordable housing.

”These two entities — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — are not facing any kind of financial crisis,” said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ”The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.”

Representative Melvin L. Watt, Democrat of North Carolina, agreed.

”I don’t see much other than a shell game going on here, moving something from one agency to another and in the process weakening the bargaining power of poorer families and their ability to get affordable housing,” Mr. Watt said.

Notice that Barney Frank – in an effort to stave off Republican efforts to regulate the housing finance industry, claimed that there was no problem.

And Barney Frank, the Chairman of the powerful House Finance Committee, and a key player in the Democrats’ effort to shape the bailout package now, represented the Democrats’ philosophical opposition to reform or regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac:

The strategy of presenting themselves to Congress as the champions of affordable housing appears to have worked. Fannie and Freddie retained the support of many in Congress, particularly Democrats, and they were allowed to continue unrestrained. Rep. Barney Frank (D., Mass), for example, now the chair of the House Financial Services Committee, openly described the “arrangement” with the GSEs at a committee hearing on GSE reform in 2003: “Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have played a very useful role in helping to make housing more affordable . . . a mission that this Congress has given them in return for some of the arrangements which are of some benefit to them to focus on affordable housing.” The hint to Fannie and Freddie was obvious: Concentrate on affordable housing and, despite your problems, your congressional support is secure.

The effort failed with Democrats in lock-step effort against the Republicans efforts to implement regulatory reform of the Housing Finance industry.

Again, in 2005, there was yet another Republican-led effort: the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005.  Four Republicans’ names were on the Senate version of the bill, and twenty Republicans’ names were on the House version.  The bill was killed because Democrats in the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs unanimously voted against the bill, and Senate Democrats signaled their intent to filibuster its passage.

John McCain, in vigorous support of the 2005 effort to regulate an increasingly out-of-control industry, said in part:

The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight’s report goes on to say that Fannie Mae employees deliberately and intentionally manipulated financial reports to hit earnings targets in order to trigger bonuses for senior executives. In the case of Franklin Raines, Fannie Mae’s former chief executive officer, OFHEO’s report shows that over half of Mr. Raines’ compensation for the 6 years through 2003 was directly tied to meeting earnings targets. The report of financial misconduct at Fannie Mae echoes the deeply troubling $5 billion profit restatement at Freddie Mac.

The OFHEO report also states that Fannie Mae used its political power to lobby Congress in an effort to interfere with the regulator’s examination of the company’s accounting problems. This report comes some weeks after Freddie Mac paid a record $3.8 million fine in a settlement with the Federal Election Commission and restated lobbying disclosure reports from 2004 to 2005. These are entities that have demonstrated over and over again that they are deeply in need of reform.

For years I have been concerned about the regulatory structure that governs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac–known as Government-sponsored entities or GSEs–and the sheer magnitude of these companies and the role they play in the housing market. OFHEO’s report this week does nothing to ease these concerns. In fact, the report does quite the contrary. OFHEO’s report solidifies my view that the GSEs need to be reformed without delay.

Franklin Raines, a Democrat and a Clinton appointee, misrepresented $11 billion in Fannie Mae’s accounting system in order to game the system so that he and other senior executives could collect multi-million dollar bonuses.  Fannie Mae was fined some $500 million for the violations.  Raines paid a $25 million fine for his role in the corruption.   Leland Brendsel – yet another Democrat – had earlier been forced out as Chairman of Freddie Mac under a similar cloud of suspicion.

We learn that, in the fall of 2004:

At a dramatic hearing in Richard Baker’s subcommittee, Fannie’s chair, Franklin Raines, stood by the company’s accounting, claiming that Fannie was being victimized by an overzealous regulator.

Notice that Raines – who as already shown was later proven to have committed fraud – blamed Republican regulators for misrepresenting the health of GSEs that we now known were on the verge of a disaster.

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, supporting the Republican-led effort to place the very sort of regulations that Democrats now claim that Republicans prevented, said:

“If [Fannie and Freddie] continue to grow, continue to have the low capital that they have, continue to engage in the dynamic hedging of their portfolios, which they need to do for interest rate risk aversion, they potentially create ever-growing potential systemic risk down the road.” He added, “Enabling these institutions to increase in size–and they will, once the crisis, in their judgment, passes–we are placing the total financial system of the future at a substantial risk.”

Peter Wallison wrote in a May 2005 article describing Democrats’ opposition at the time:

The sudden appearance of this new threat changed the attitude of the GSEs toward the legislation. Although they had begun 2005 offering conciliatory statements and suggesting that they had no serious problems with the regulatory proposals that Congress was then contemplating, the GSEs were clearly alarmed by the idea that their portfolios might be limited or reduced. Fannie and Freddie and their constituent support groups–the homebuilders and the realtors, among others–made clear that they would fight limitations on GSE portfolios, and Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and other Democrats made clear that they, too, would oppose any effort to limit this aspect of the GSEs’ operations.

Wallison also stated:

Under these circumstances, allowing Fannie and Freddie to continue on their present course is simply to create risks for the taxpayers, and to the economy generally, in order to improve the profits of their shareholders and the compensation of their managements. It is a classic case of socializing the risk while privatizing the profit. The Democrats and the few Republicans who oppose portfolio limitations could not possibly do so if their constituents understood what they were doing.

A Bloomberg article describes how the lack of timely reform created an economic tsunami:

Enough cards on this table have been turned over that the story is now clear. The economic history books will describe this episode in simple and understandable terms: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac exploded, and many bystanders were injured in the blast, some fatally.

Fannie and Freddie did this by becoming a key enabler of the mortgage crisis. They fueled Wall Street’s efforts to securitize subprime loans by becoming the primary customer of all AAA-rated subprime-mortgage pools. In addition, they held an enormous portfolio of mortgages themselves.

In the times that Fannie and Freddie couldn’t make the market, they became the market. Over the years, it added up to an enormous obligation. As of last June, Fannie alone owned or guaranteed more than $388 billion in high-risk mortgage investments. Their large presence created an environment within which even mortgage-backed securities assembled by others could find a ready home.

The problem was that the trillions of dollars in play were only low-risk investments if real estate prices continued to rise. Once they began to fall, the entire house of cards came down with them.

Keven Hasset concludes an article titled, “How the Democrats Created the Financial Crisis“, concludes by saying:

Now that the collapse has occurred, the roadblock built by Senate Democrats in 2005 is unforgivable. Many who opposed the bill doubtlessly did so for honorable reasons. Fannie and Freddie provided mounds of materials defending their practices. Perhaps some found their propaganda convincing.

But we now know that many of the senators who protected Fannie and Freddie, including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Christopher Dodd, have received mind-boggling levels of financial support from them over the years.

Throughout his political career, Obama has gotten more than $125,000 in campaign contributions from employees and political action committees of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, second only to Dodd, the Senate Banking Committee chairman, who received more than $165,000.

Clinton, the 12th-ranked recipient of Fannie and Freddie PAC and employee contributions, has received more than $75,000 from the two enterprises and their employees. The private profit found its way back to the senators who killed the fix.

There has been a lot of talk about who is to blame for this crisis. A look back at the story of 2005 makes the answer pretty clear.

Financial Crisis: Obama Democrats Have Red Ink All Over Them

September 22, 2008

Whether Franklin Raines is an Obama adviser or not is a rather entertaining question.  He sure seemed to be one until not very long ago:

Raines was an Obama adviser on July 16, when The Washington Post reported:

“In the four years since he stepped down as Fannie Mae’s chief executive under the shadow of a $6.3 billion accounting scandal, Franklin D. Raines has been quietly constructing a new life for himself. He has shaved eight points off his golf handicap, taken a corner office in Steve Case’s D.C. conglomeration of finance, entertainment and health-care companies and more recently, taken calls from Barack Obama’s presidential campaign seeking his advice on mortgage and housing policy matters.”

And Raines was still an Obama adviser on August 28, when The Washington Post said:

In the current crisis, their biggest backers have been Democrats such as Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher J. Dodd (Conn.) and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (Mass.). Two members of Mr. Obama’s political circle, James A. Johnson and Franklin D. Raines, are former chief executives of Fannie Mae.

In fact, Raines was still an Obama adviser as of September 18, when a Baltimore Sun blogger cited a Wikipedia article as follows:

“Franklin Delano Raines (born January 14, 1949 in Seattle, Washington) is the former chairman and chief executive officer of Fannie Mae who served as White House budget director under President Bill Clinton. He is currently employed by Barack Obama’s Presidential Campaign as an economic adviser.”

But that last sentence has been scrubbed from Wikipedia within the last two days, and all of a sudden Franklin Raines somehow isn’t an Obama adviser anymore.  It’s almost like when Barack Obama said of Jeremiah Wright, “I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother — a woman who helped raise me…”, until, you know, he denounced him.

But when Barack Obama denounces something, all mention of it as being in any way associated with him somehow gets purged – even if that relationship lasted 23 years.  Now when it comes to the McCain denunciation of Franklin Raines as an Obama adviser, The Washington Post faults McCain for relying on…the Washington Post.

McCain spokesman Brian Rogers noted that Obama didn’t contradict the claim when it first appeared in the Post (MORE THAN TWO MONTHS AGO!!!).  But that doesn’t seem to matter.  What matters is that Franklin Raines is black, and therefore McCain is a racist for connecting Obama and Raines.  Apparently, the card deck of Barack Obama, “new politician” of “hope” and “change,” contains a whole bunch of race cards.

But, try as he might to distance himself from his erstwhile adviser, what Barack Obama CAN’T do is deny that Franklin Raines is a DEMOCRAT.  A Democrat who dredges up all sorts of bad mojo for Democrats as they try to frantically scrub their hands of all the red ink and all the corruption that took place during Franklin Raines’ tenure at Fannie Mae.

It reminds us of the October 7, 2004 Los Angeles Times story that appeared titled, “Ex-Fannie Mae Accountant Says CEO Knew of Concerns“:

The former Fannie Mae accountant who raised questions about the mortgage giant’s bookkeeping said Wednesday that he took his concerns directly to Chief Executive Franklin Raines in 2002 and asked him to investigate.

The disclosure by Roger Barnes, who left Fannie Mae in October 2003, came as Raines and Chief Financial Officer Timothy Howard defended the company’s accounting and told Congress that regulators’ allegations of earnings manipulation represented an interpretation of complex rules.

At a House subcommittee hearing, Raines and Howard testified under oath in their first public appearance since news surfaced Sept. 22 about the allegations and a Securities and Exchange Commission inquiry into government-sponsored Fannie Mae. Lawmakers questioned them closely about an instance in 1998 in which accounting rules were said to have been deliberately violated so that top executives could collect full bonuses.

This is a very serious allegation, and I deny that it occurred,” Raines testified.

The thing is, it DID occur, and much worse.  And it was discovered that Raines had manipulated accounting practices so that senior executives could make millions in bonuses:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Employees at mortgage giant Fannie Mae manipulated accounting so that executives could collect millions in bonuses as senior management deceived investors and stonewalled regulators at a company whose prestigious image was phony, a federal agency charged Tuesday.

The blistering report by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, the product of an extensive three-year investigation, was issued as the government-sponsored company struggles to emerge from an $11 billion accounting scandal.

Earlier, a person familiar with the situation said that Fannie Mae was being fined between $300 million and $500 million for the alleged manipulation of accounting to facilitate executives’ bonuses, in a settlement with the housing oversight agency.

“The image of Fannie Mae as one of the lowest-risk and ‘best in class’ institutions was a facade,” James B. Lockhart, the acting director of OFHEO, said in a statement as the report was released. “Our examination found an environment where the ends justified the means. Senior management manipulated accounting, reaped maximum, undeserved bonuses, and prevented the rest of the world from knowing.”

The report also faulted Fannie Mae’s board of directors for failing to exercise its oversight responsibilities and failing to discover “a wide variety of unsafe and unsound practices” at the largest buyer and guarantor of home mortgages in the country.

The OFHEO review, involving nearly 8 million pages of documents, details what the agency calls an arrogant and unethical corporate culture. From 1998 to mid-2004, the smooth growth in profits and precisely-hit earnings targets each quarter reported by Fannie Mae were “illusions” deliberately created by senior management using faulty accounting, the report says.

The accounting manipulation tied to executives’ bonuses occurred from 1998 to 2004, according to the report, a much longer period than was previously known.

Lest any not know it, Franklin Raines was a Clinton appointee.

A Wikipedia article (we’ll see how soon it takes to purge it!) talking about the Clinton years is extremely informative in the current ruinous aftermath:

The Clinton Administration’s regulatory revisions [1] with an effective starting date of January 31, 1995 were credited with substantially increasing the number and aggregate amount of loans to small businesses and to low- and moderate-income borrowers for home loans. Part of the increase in home loans was due to increased efficiency and the genesis of lenders, like Countrywide, that do not mitigate loan risk with savings deposits as do traditional banks using the new subprime authorization. This is known as the secondary market for mortgage loans. The revisions allowed the securitization of CRA loans containing subprime mortgages. The first public securitization of CRA loans started in 1997 by Bear Stearns. [2] The number of CRA mortgage loans increased by 39 percent between 1993 and 1998, while other loans increased by only 17 percent. [3] [4]

Bill Clinton walks off the stage as the conquering hero in the mythical narrative of the liberal media, but IT WAS THESE VERY LOANS BY THESE VERY LENDERS THAT RESULTED IN THE DISASTER WE ARE NOW SUFFERING.

President Bush tried to reform Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the entire housing finance industry before it was too late:

New Agency Proposed to Oversee Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae

By STEPHEN LABATON
Published: September 11, 2003

The Bush administration today recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago.

Under the plan, disclosed at a Congressional hearing today, a new agency would be created within the Treasury Department to assume supervision of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored companies that are the two largest players in the mortgage lending industry.

The new agency would have the authority, which now rests with Congress, to set one of the two capital-reserve requirements for the companies. It would exercise authority over any new lines of business. And it would determine whether the two are adequately managing the risks of their ballooning portfolios.

But his effort to reform the housing finance industry by reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was blockedBY DEMOCRATS.

The same New York Times article cited above, dated September 11, 2003 (yet another 9/11 that Democrats caused, and Republicans took the blame for ) ends with these words:

Significant details must still be worked out before Congress can approve a bill. Among the groups denouncing the proposal today were the National Association of Home Builders and Congressional Democrats who fear that tighter regulation of the companies could sharply reduce their commitment to financing low-income and affordable housing.

”These two entities — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — are not facing any kind of financial crisis,” said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ”The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.”

Representative Melvin L. Watt, Democrat of North Carolina, agreed.

”I don’t see much other than a shell game going on here, moving something from one agency to another and in the process weakening the bargaining power of poorer families and their ability to get affordable housing,” Mr. Watt said.

Barney Frank – the same liberal doofus who said that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were fine and not facing any kind of financial crisis – is still around, and still in charge of the Financial Services Committee.

Mel Watts, the race-card playing liberal who opposed reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on the grounds that it would prevent poor blacks from getting home loans, is also still around.

And though Barack Obama may be able to distance himself from Franklin Raines – however falsely – he can’t distance himself from another prominent “adviser” – Jim Johnson.  Johnson was briefly appointed to head Obama’s vice presidential selection committee until it was discovered that he had benefited from sweetheart Countrywide loans.  And Johnson was another Fannie Mae CEO who was Franklin Raines’ predecessor at Fannie Mae.  He joins a long list of Clinton Democrats who “served” at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and walked away with millions.  Jim Johnson also sits on the board at Goldman Sachs, a company that was also massively invested in subprime loans but managed to sell them short and preserve itself.

And Obama is personally up to his eyeballs in the housing finance collapse in other ways, as well.  Obama is second on the list of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac campaign money recipients only after fellow Democrat Chris Dodd; and he is second on the list of Lehman Bros’ campaign money recipients only after fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton.  Is it any wonder he would appoint Penny Pritzker – who was at the very epicenter of what would come to be the biggest financial scandal in American history, and who paid a $460 million fine to bribe her way out of jail – as his national campaign finance chair.  He also named Joe Biden as his Vice Presidential nominee, in spite of the fact that Biden championed the very bill that many experts and at least two studies attribute to creating the mess that caused hundreds of thousands of Americans to lose their homes and precipitated much of the ensuing financial market meltdown.

Now allow me to provide the contrast between Obama – who is tied by both party and by big money contributions to his political career – with John McCain.  The previously quoted Washington Post says:

This is not an easy one for the Illinois senator because of the companies’ close ties to his party. To be sure, both Republican and Democratic politicos have held well-paid positions in the two firms or have partaken of the tens of millions that they spend on lobbying. But a few Republicans, such as Mr. McCain and Sen. Richard C. Shelby (Ala.), who has been chairman and ranking Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, have taken them on over the years, warning about their use of an implicit government guarantee to pursue private profits. Meanwhile, Democrats were not only politically but intellectually committed to the companies, seeing them as innovative public-private institutions that have been a boon to home ownership. In the current crisis, their biggest backers have been Democrats such as Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher J. Dodd (Conn.) and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (Mass.). Two members of Mr. Obama’s political circle, James A. Johnson and Franklin D. Raines, are former chief executives of Fannie Mae.

John McCain fought hard to pass regulations that would control Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac back in May 25, 2006.  But again the measure was killed by Democratic opposition.  Hot Air takes up McCain’s efforts and who killed them:

In this speech, McCain managed to predict the entire collapse that has forced the government to eat Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, along with Bear Stearns and AIG.  He hammers the falsification of financial records to benefit executives, including Franklin Raines and Jim Johnson, both of whom have worked as advisers to Barack Obama this year.  McCain also noted the power of their lobbying efforts to forestall oversight over their business practices.  He finishes with the warning that proved all too prescient over the past few days and weeks.

John McCain fought in vain to prevent the collapse of the housing finance market, and would have succeeded had it not been for utterly determined Democratic opposition.  Barack Obama, for his part, led the lists of campaign contribution recipients from both Fannie and Freddie and from disgraced and belly-up Lehman Bros.

There are only 43 days left in this election.  That is not very long for the American people to realize that they are being lied to by the very people and the very party that caused the disaster that has so angered the electorate.