Posts Tagged ‘Countrywide’

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?
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[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.
..
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
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“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.

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.

Barack Obama 2nd On List Of 345 Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Recipients

September 18, 2008

In the aftermath of the financial scandal that is toppling financial institution after institution, the Center for Responsive Politics did a little snooping into which politicians were taking how much money from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  The activities of these two quasi-government quasi private financial hybrids were at the very center of the disaster that has caught up so many institutions that dealt with mortgages.

Barack Obama – the current Democratic nominee for President – was 2nd out of 345 lawmakers on the list.  And John Kerry – the 2004 Democratic nominee for President – was 3rd.  Sen. Chris Dodd – the Democratic chairman of the Senate Banking Committee who accepted a sweetheart loan from scandal-ridden Countrywide – was top on the list.

The problem with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has always been that it was a social welfare institution masquerading as a financial institution.  That’s why these “financial institutions” have been so rabidly pro-socialist Democrat Party.

To put it in Olympian terms, Democrats swept the medals, winning gold, silver, and bronze for the biggest pigs feeding from the scandal-ridden Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac trough.

Update: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Invest in Lawmakers

When the federal government announced two months ago that it would prop up mortgage buyers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, CRP looked at how much money members of Congress had collected since 1989 from the companies. On Sunday the government completely took over the two government-sponsored enterprises, and we’ve returned to our data to bring you the updates, this time providing a list of all 354 lawmakers who have gotten money from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (in July we posted the top 25). These totals are based on data released electronically from the FEC on Sept. 2 and include contributions to lawmakers’ leadership PACs and candidate committees from the floundering companies’ PACs and employees. Current members of Congress have received a total of $4.8 million from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, with Democrats collecting 57 percent of that. This week we also wrote about how much money lawmakers had invested of their own money in the companies last year–a total of up to $1.7 million.

All Recipients of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Campaign Contributions, 1989-2008

Name Office State Party Grand Total Total from
PACs
Total from
Individuals
Dodd, Christopher J S CT D $165,400 $48,500 $116,900
Obama, Barack S IL D $126,349 $6,000 $120,349
Kerry, John S MA D $111,000 $2,000 $109,000

And realize something: this list runs from 1989-2008.  Barack Obama has only been in national politics since 2005; do you have any idea what a trough-guzzling porker he had to be to pass by so many politicians who’ve been in politics throughout the entire 20 year period?

Democrats are all over this housing scandal mess.  But they have one talent (the ability to demonize their opponents) and one asset (a complicit liberal media).  John McCain proposed legislation that would have reformed Fannie and Freddie back in 2005 – but lockstep Democratic opposition killed it.  Now the system is broken, and the guy who took the 2nd most money from the scoundels who caused this mess is trying to blame the guy who tried to fix the problem before it became a disaster.

Obama’s National Finance Chair Pritzker At Epicenter of Sub Prime Crisis

July 23, 2008

Well, Obama’s been at it again.

This candidate who so boldly promised that he would be so different – and who has since demonstrated just how cynical he is to even make such a claim – has taken on yet another senior level campaign representative who is tied to the very worst scandal that is currently dragging this country’s economy down.

Penny Pritzker, Barack Obama’s National Finance Chair, has – as Ricky Ricardo used to put it – “some ‘splainin’ to do.” And Barack Obama has his own explaining to do – for naming her to his campaign in the first place. Pritzker has secured about $200 million dollars in campaign funds for Obama, but there’s a definite down side if people become aware of her past.

John R. Emshwiller writes an article based on the FDIC Report’s own finding and conclusions:

For the Pritzker family of Chicago, the 2001 collapse of subprime-mortgage lender Superior Bank was an embarrassing failure in a corner of their giant business empire.

Billionaire Penny Pritzker helped run Hinsdale, Ill.-based Superior, overseeing her family’s 50% ownership stake. She now serves as Barack Obama’s national campaign-finance chairwoman, which means her banking past could prove to be an embarrassment to her — and perhaps to the campaign.

Superior was seized in 2001 and later closed by federal regulators. Government investigators and consumer advocates have contended that Superior engaged in unsound financial activities and predatory lending practices. Ms. Pritzker, a longtime friend and supporter of Sen. Obama, served for a time as Superior’s chairman, and later sat on the board of its holding company.

The Office of Thrift Supervision report said:

Superior Bank suffered as a result of its former high-risk business strategy, which was focused on the generation of significant volumes of subprime mortgage and automobile loans for securitization and sale in the secondary market. OTS found that the bank also suffered from poor lending practices, improper record keeping and accounting, and ineffective board and management supervision.

Emshwiller further notes:

Ms. Pritzker served as Superior chairman until 1994. During that period, Superior “embarked on a business strategy of significant growth into subprime home mortgages,” which were then packaged into securities and sold to investors, according to a 2002 report by the Treasury Department’s Inspector General.

“Superior was at the forefront of the securitizing of subprime mortgages,” says Timothy Anderson, a retired bank consultant who has studied Superior and other failed thrifts.

So we see that it was during the Clinton years that this financial strategy that would lead to such an incredible disaster had its geneisis, and it was in the liberal bastion of Chicago – and a liberal financier – who were at its forefront.

For a time, the strategy of making high interest home and auto loans to people with bad credit appeared to work like a charm, yielding big profits-and large dividends for the Pritzkers. But it was essentially blood money profits made mainly on the what Moe Bedard referred to as “foreclosure blood and misery of millions of Americans.”

People like the Pritzkers made money if people paid the high-interest loans; and they made money if they didn’t through the ensuing foreclosures.

It only became a problem for the banks when the overly inflated housing market values came down to earth and people who owed more on their homes than they were worth began walking away from those high interest subprime loans in large numbers.

A USA Today story by Ken Dilanian notes that:

Superior, co-owned by Pritzker family trusts, began focusing on subprime loans in 1993, according to the FDIC Inspector General’s report. At the time, Pritzker was the board’s chair. She left the board in 1994 and continued as a director of the bank’s holding company. In 2002, the Pritzkers agreed to pay, through trusts, $460 million in a settlement with the government relieving them of liability.

So now we have a decided pattern – beyond the Chicago political link – to Obama himself. He named Jim Johnson to head his vitally important Vice Presidential Selection Committee. A Wall Street Journal story showed how Johnson received favorable treatment on personal loans from major sub-prime player Countrywide Financial Corp. Johnson – former chairman of now also in trouble Fannie Mae – went to Countrywide repeatedly to get new loans at sweetheart rates as a FOA (Friend of Angelo [Mozillo]). Johnson essentially received kickbacks received kickbacks in the form of great mortgages and lax underwriting guidelines on 3 properties totalling $1.7 million while millions of the “little people” crashed and burned.

In a prepared statement, the Obama campaign noted that Ms. Pritzker was never accused of wrongdoing by regulators in connection with Superior, and that her family agreed to pay $460 million to help defray the costs of Superior’s collapse.

That isn’t quite true. Rather, the federal regulators were simply never fully able to sort through all the flawed accounting and masked operating losses to find the smoking gun, and the offer of several hundred million dollars made them willing to quit looking. You don’t pay 460 million bucks unless you have an awful lot of skeletons in your closet. Pritzker was able to buy her way out of jail.

And please tell me something: just how is Barack Obama supposed to produce “change” when he surrounds himself with the same “old” greedy executives that have profited handsomely in this mortgage and housing crisis, and even pioneered the despicably greedy concept itself? Just what kind of benighted fool is going to think this guy is going to be one iota different? The sub prime scandal originated in Obama’s backyard, and Obama keeps handpicking figures tied to it.

Moe Bedard writes an article titled “Pritzker, Predatory Subprime Pioneer, Still On Obama Team” that provides a lot of documentation and includes a lot of links to other sources of information. The more you read, the more you learn about Obama’s choice for finance chair.

People had better start taking a serious look at Barack Obama – and ALL the horrendous people he has been keeping around him for years – before its too late.

Democrats, The Countrywide Scandal, and Self-Righteous Hypocrisy

June 27, 2008

I still recall that tragic day nearly two years ago when the Democrats regained power. Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made one of those smarmy, pompous, self-righteous, over-the-top, flies-in-the-face-of-the-facts sort of statements that has come to characterize her when she said, ““Democrats are leading the effort to turn the most closed, corrupt Congress in history into the most open and honest Congress in history.” She liked the ring of that so much she said it again and again with varying iterations. “The Democrats intend to lead the most honest, most open, and most ethical Congress in history.”

Well, of course she was completely full of what my dog regularly adds to my back yard. Remember how she tried to appoint people like Jack Murtha (the traitorous slimebag who was so ready to convict Marines of war crimes) and William Jefferson (the greedy slimebag caught red handed with $90,000 in his freezer) to important House positions?

Well, strike another blow for Democrats’ ethical purity.

A June 13, 2008 Associated Press story titled, “Sens. Dodd, Conrad tied to special mortgage deals,” opened with the following:

WASHINGTON — Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher J. Dodd, a leader of Congress’ efforts to help homeowners ensnared in the subprime mortgage meltdown, reportedly got special treatment on his own mortgages from the CEO of Countrywide Financial Corp., a company whose practices he has called “abusive.”

At least one other lawmaker, Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., also benefited from the VIP treatment after placing a personal call to Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo seeking a mortgage.

Both senators say they weren’t aware they were getting special deals.

Still, their involvement in a special program that awarded discounts and waived fees for “friends” of Mozilo – first reported by Conde Nast Portfolio magazine’s Web site – raised questions about whether lawmakers weighing a homeowner rescue themselves benefited from the actions of a leading offender in the mortgage meltdown.

It could be especially damaging for Dodd, D-Conn., one of four Senate Democrats who pursued his party’s 2008 presidential nomination, given his high-profile role in crafting the housing rescue.

In order to believe Dodd’s and Conrad’s stammering protestations of innocence, one must accept that neither man understood what the acronym “V.I.P.” meant.

The magazine (this being another big story in which the elite media had to be dragged into coverage by exposure from new media revelations) said other participants in the company’s VIP program included former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Alphonso Jackson, former Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, and former U.N. ambassador and assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke.

A whole bunch of prominent, smarmy, holier-than-thou Democrats, in other words.

Dodd and Conrad made their pathetic excuses, but “An internal e-mail from Mozilo, however, said the exception was “due to the fact that the borrower is a senator,” according to the Portfolio report.”

So, the bottom line is that while the housing market meltdown was taking place, and as Democrats were out in force taking turns blaming President Bush for every aspect of the crisis, Democrats were benefitting from sweetheart deals handed out by some of the worst (by their own charges) offenders of the subprime mortgage scandal.

The AP story concludes:

Mozilo received compensation worth more than $22.1 million and cashed $121.5 million in stock options in 2007, while Countrywide posted a loss of over $700 million and saw its stock plummet 80 percent. The company agreed in January to be acquired by Bank of America Corp. for $4.1 billion in stock.

Countrywide has come under fire for its lending practices, including providing mortgages with low initial “teaser” rates that balloon higher than borrowers can afford. Dodd and other Banking Committee Democrats wrote to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke in December 2007 singling out Countrywide and calling the loans “abusive.”

A watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, called Friday for House and Senate investigations of Dodd and Conrad, and any other lawmakers who may have received preferential mortgages through the Countrywide program.

Rep. Mark Souder, R-Ind., said Congress should hold hearings on “Friends of Angelo” loans.

Souder told the Fox Business Network, “The question is, who are the friends? What is the list? How is it done? What does it mean? If we don’t pursue it, it would show preferential treatment.”

By all appearances so far, the Democratic-controlled House and Senate leadership promise to move on this scandal with all the speed of chilled mollases. They called for Rep. Tom Delay’s head on a platter when there was nothing more than a charge from an ideologue district attorney. Rep. William Jefferson has been officially under criminal indictment for over a year, and he’s still happily “serving” his district (his sister, Brenda Jefferson, just copped a guilty plea for activities he was involved in, by the way).

Don’t ever expect Democrats to live up to the standards they demand of Republicans.

Having said all this, there remains still one more link to be pointed out: the link between Barack Obama – he of the Tony Rezko sweetheart real estate deal – and the man he appointed to head his important vice president selection committee:

Lawmakers’ participation in the VIP program is coming to light just days after similar revelations about former Fannie Mae CEO Jim Johnson prompted Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, to ax Johnson from his vice presidential vetting team.

Conrad, the Budget Committee chairman, said it was Johnson who referred him to Mozilo in 2002 when the North Dakotan was seeking a loan to buy a vacation home in Bethany Beach, Del.

“I called (Mozilo). I said, ‘I’m buying this property. Would you be interested in the mortgage?’, and he said, ‘Yeah. Call these people and we’ll take a look,'” Conrad said.

“I did not think for one moment _ and no one ever suggested to me _ that I was getting preferential treatment,” Conrad said.

So Kent Conrad calls the CEO of sleazy Countrywide fishing for a personal mortgage, and it never once occurs to him to think that the really, really good deal he gets as a result just might be a political favor?

And there’s Barack Obama’s (now ex) point man, Jim Johnson, steering Conrad toward the promised land.

Assuming you believe Barack Obama – who oh-so-innocently received his own sweetheart real estate deal – it is just a coincidence that the man he appointed to lead one of the most important committees of his campaign would be dirty.

In which case it has to occur to you to ask just how many dirty Democrats there are involved in the housing market scandal.

But have no fear: Democrats will continue to lay the blame for the mortgage meltdown on Republicans, no matter how many of their most prominent members are involved, and no matter how up-to-their eyeballs that involvement turns out to be.

If you’re gag reflexes can handle it, you should read Pelosi’s “pledge” of unparalleled integrity and ethics (and note that Barack Obama’s name appears on the “look at me: I’m wonderful too!” line):

Pelosi: ‘We Will Create the Most Open and Honest Government in History’

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Contact: Brendan Daly/Jennifer Crider, 202-226-7616

Washington, D.C. – House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, Congresswoman Louise Slaughter of New York, and Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, unveiled Democrats’ “Honest Leadership, Open Government Act,” which will restore honesty, integrity, and openness to government. Below are Pelosi’s remarks as prepared.

“Good afternoon. It is fitting that we gather in the building of the Library of Congress named for Thomas Jefferson, the author of our Declaration of Independence. Today, Democrats are here to make a Declaration of Independence from special interests.

“These halls contain great wisdom. In the hall behind me are three paintings about government. The central painting contains President Lincoln’s famous words, ‘A government of the people, by the people, and for the people.’ On the right side, a mural entitled ‘Good Administration’ shows a figure reading and voting, symbolizing the value of an informed and involved citizenry. On the other side is a painting entitled ‘Corrupt Legislation,’ which shows a figure burning a scroll of learning and trampling a Bible.

“It is a harsh image, to see a Bible underfoot – but it makes a powerful point: corrupt government undermines our values. We come here today to support those values, and to lay out an agenda for a new era of honest, open, and transparent government.

“For a long time now, an ethical cloud has hung over the Capitol. For years, Democrats have called for an end to the Republican culture of corruption.

“Yesterday, House Republican leaders unveiled a vague and insufficient set of so-called reforms. What is important about their list is not what it does do, but what it doesn’t do. It doesn’t kill the K Street project, it doesn’t address procedural abuses in the House that Republicans use to implement their culture of corruption, and it doesn’t charge the Ethics committee to act immediately. The Democratic plan we unveil today addresses all of these necessary reforms.

“Republicans are resisting true reform because they all benefit from enabling the culture of corruption to continue. Republicans have allowed this poison tree of corruption to bear the fruit of bad policy for the American people. When a prescription drug bill puts pharmaceutical companies first, senior citizens pay higher prices for prescription drugs. When the energy bill give tax breaks to oil companies already making historic profits, Americans pay the price at the pump and in record home-heating costs. When liability is waived for vaccine manufacturers, companies will profit, but Americans can get hurt.

“The intention of our Founding Fathers was for Congress to be a marketplace of ideas. The Republicans have turned Congress into an auction house – for sale to the highest bidder. You have to pay to play. It is just not right.

“Democrats are leading the effort to turn the most closed, corrupt Congress in history into the most open and honest Congress in history.

“That is why, with our Democratic Declaration of Honest Leadership and Open Government, we are pledging to enact and enforce legislation that will:

  • Ban all gifts and travel from lobbyists. Period.
  • Kill the K Street Project, the Republican plan that trades favors for lobbying jobs, and toughen public disclosure of lobbyist activity.
  • Remove the revolving door by doubling the amount of time Members and staff are prohibited from going from legislating to lobbying. Stop legislators from negotiating legislation, while also negotiating employment contracts for themselves with those who benefit from that legislation. Keep former Members who are lobbyists off the floor of Congress.
  • Next we would end the ‘dead of night’ special interest provisions that turn bills into special-interest giveaways. Lawmakers must have the opportunity to read every bill before they vote on it. It’s common sense.

“When it comes to contracting and cronyism, we intend to:

  • Eliminate the practice of irresponsible no-bid contracts, bring criminal penalties against war profiteers, and ensure that the government contracting process is honest, open, competitive, and fair. No more Halliburtons.
  • Prohibit cronyism in key appointments by making sure any individual appointed to a position has proven credentials. Brownie certainly wasn’t doing a ‘heck of a job’ for the survivors of Hurricane Katrina.

“These are tough standards, but they are just the beginning. We are prepared to do even more.

“If we are to have true reforms, two things need to happen: We must have strong enforcement, with an active and functioning Ethics Committee. That is why last week I wrote to Speaker Hastert asking him to join me in urging the Ethics Committee to begin investigations immediately. Second, if and when the Speaker brings reform legislation to the floor, an open rule is absolutely essential. A new era of openness can only begin if we debate the reforms in an open manner.

“Taken together, Democratic proposals will lead this country in a new direction, put an end to business as usual, and make certain this nation’s leaders serve the people’s interest, not the special interests.

“Ours must be a government ‘of the people, by the people, and for the people.’ That means all of the American people. Republicans have made it a government of, by, and for a few of the people. America can do better. We can and we will. With this agenda, Democrats will create the most open and honest government in history, and put power back where it belongs – in the hands of all the people. Together, America can do better.”

The Democrats demonized the Republicans with an unprecedented blitzkrieg of nasty attacks, even as they promised to be bi-partisan. But they who were so quick to point out how awful the Republicans were and how oh-so-wonderful they would be have magnificently failed to improve the moral climate of Congress in the least.

The thing that infuriates me the most about Democrats isn’t that they are any more corrupt than Republicans. I don’t know that they are. I do know that the bigger government becomes, and the more billions getting doled out to one special interest or another, the more corruption there will be as groups try to influence politicians to steer money their way.  But what never ceases to tick me off to no end is that Democrats are so full of venomous attacks, so full of smarmy assurances of their own wonderfulness, and inevitably always so full of hypocrisy.

The Republicans have introduced some excellent Congressional reform measures that have gone absolutely nowhere under the Democratic leadership.

Barack Obama – just like Nancy Pelosi – is full of promises about what a wonderful job he’ll do if given power, and how wonderful he’ll be. Trust me: he won’t do any better than the Congress that has attained the distinction of achieving the lowest approval ratings of all time.