Bought And Paid For

Politicians – mostly Democrats, in this IBD poiece on the subject –  have been on the take from mortgage companies for years.

There’s method, naturally, to the madness:

A number of top Democrats have been caught with their hands in the cookie jar, suggesting corruption in the party linked to the recent home-mortgage meltdown. Will the mainstream media just ignore it?

We’ll come back to that.

The firing of Democrat insider and money-man Jim Johnson a week ago as head of Barack Obama’s vice presidential search committee came as no surprise. Johnson, who served as chairman and CEO of Fannie Mae during much of Bill Clinton’s presidency, was discovered to have received a favorable mortgage loan from Countrywide Financial’s founder and CEO Angelo Mozilo…Now it turns out that Johnson wasn’t the only Democratic F.O.A. — friend of Angelo.

Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, head of the Senate Banking Committee that oversees Countrywide, also was a recipient of Mozilo’s mortgage largesse. So was Kent Conrad, the North Dakotan who chairs the Finance Committee and sits on the Budget Committee.

Both Dodd and Conrad, like Johnson, had potential clout in crafting legislation and regulations that would directly affect Countrywide’s future. And both got favorable loans through Countrywide’s now-infamous “V.I.P.” program.

Dodd’s case is illustrative. He took out two mortgages with no closing costs attached, at fixed rates of 4.25% and 4.5%. Sound like something you’d get?

No, indeed.

Countrywide, you fat bastards?  We gotta talk.

Former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala and former U.N. ambassador and assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke also benefited, as did one prominent Republican — former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Alphonso Jackson.

Granted, both Shalala and Holbrooke had left public office when they got their deals. But it was reasonable for Mozilo to think they’d serve again in another Democratic administration.

And what, many wonder, was the quid pro quo for all this?

Oh, what do you think?

Just a month ago, in unusually harsh language, Dodd ripped into President Bush on the subprime mess and defended a $400 billion plan that would bail out the subprime lending industry — including Mozilo.

Friends of Angelo, indeed.

So the initial question was “why don’t the media cover this?”  Indeed, why are so much of the “independent” media so very, very on board with legislation that would distort the mortgage market, to the benefit of the big mortgage companies?  As the number of Tics with their hands in the jar grew, why were they trying to deflect blame to Republicans and past-their-shelf-date Democrats?

It’d be interesting to see what kind of mortgages the principals at Media Matters and the other attack-PR firms that control the lefty alternative media have.

12 thoughts on “Bought And Paid For

  1. You sound like a fellow who, unlike myself, does _not_ have a fixed, 5.5%, 30 yr mortgage with no PMI from Countrywide.
    At this point I am pretty darn sure that my superb ability to time the real estate market, and my financial integrity in paying my bills on time, is all that is keeping Countrywide afloat.

  2. I’m not sure that this dog hunts, Mitch. Yes, it’s scandalous that Dodd and Conrad get special favors and it’s telling that the Sorosmedia ignores it. But it’s old news. The Congress is still corrupt under new management meme doesn’t absolve the Republicans of their sins or offer any compelling reason to return the old rascals back to power. Net result – it won’t move anyone to change things.

    I think the better tack is to really amplify what the D’s are proposing. We’ve had at least two Congresscritters come out publicly for nationalizing the oil industry in recent days. I’d be asking Obama about that every day – do we really want Petroleos de los E.E.U.U., run by some flunky of Maurice Hinchey? The D’s are saying remarkable things like this nearly every day and Obama is just riffing because he knows that he won’t get called on it.

    My two cents.

  3. D,

    All good points.

    But as someone who Countrywide’s been gouging for quite some time, I’m still looking to get my pound of flesh out of the bastards one way or the other.

  4. Well, as someone with a 4.875 loan with Countrywide I’m not too displeased with them — didn’t get the loan through them, but they bought it and haven’t done too badly. If they would quit spamming me with offers to refinance at much higher rates I’d be happier.

    My experiences with Countrywide have very little relationship to their “liberal ethics” in their lending policies towards Democrats who might oversee them, however.

  5. “Corrupt democrats on the take” is like “dog bites man.” So common, it’s apparently not considered news worthy…

    That *has* to be the answer, because we all know that the media is fair & unbiased, Right?

  6. I heard that those 4.875% fixed mortgages from countrywide are kinda chintzy. They start to rust after a year or two and the stitches aren’t even. Made in China, I guess. Me, I went for a 5.5% mortgage. The quality really shines through.

  7. My Countrywide 4.875 is around 8 years old and it still runs like a dream. apart from routine maintenence I haven’t had to do a thing to it.

  8. Speaking of real estate MN has a unique forfeited tax system (Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 280.001, Chapter 281.23, Subdivision 9, Chapter 282.01.
    ) which is not transparent and is impervious to Freedom of Information Act inquiry. I think Minnesota needs to sell more state and municipal land to developers and keep it from the state and municipal agencies to curtail government growth. Such a strategy is directly opposite of most Democrats’ support of Nature Conservancy ( which buys lands across the nation only to keep it from developers.
    Speak to any of those guys or gals who go to the $2000 weekend “get rich in real estate” seminars or borrow their 3 ring binders and they’ll tell you Minnesota is unique in the way it does not report on what most states call deed, sales or purchase certificates, and in the way it handles tax forfeited property.
    MN Tax forfeited land since 1974 spends the redemption period in the state and then only MIGHT be put up for public auction after the local municipal county and possibly state agencies are offered it. It’s pre-forfeiture purchase history is made null and void by a specific statute that says only the state’s certificate is prima facia evidence that the new owner’s claim is valid and no past purchase history can be used.
    No reporting is required by statute so even if a FOIA request is submitted they cannot tell you which agencies the land went to. How’s that for transparency and accountability! All that land asset value in the counties and cities and possibly the state not being recognized at tax time!
    At the very least we should repeal the anti-reporting clauses in 280.001 and related statutes.
    I am disturbed that among the many agencies considered by statute to receive tax forfeited land, the DNR is right up at top, yet Democrats continue to support set aside programs and type PACTs that do the same thing. Minnesota is a unique state. MN does not need more park land, DNR land, or government land because there has been a steady, un-reported stream coming in since 1974 under existing law.

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