Democrats won’t investigate Countrywide

July 31, 2009

AP reports:

House Democrats have declined to subpoena available records that might reveal whether other members of Congress got discounted VIP mortgages from subprime lender Countrywide Financial Corp. similar to the sweetheart deals given Democratic Sens. Chris Dodd and Kent Conrad. . .

Any subpoena must be issued by the committee’s chairman. But because Democrats control Congress, there are no Republican committee chairmen. . . Daniel Frahm, a Bank of America spokesman, said the bank is ready to turn over the Countrywide VIP documents if it receives a subpoena.

(Via Instapundit.)

Dodd and Conrad knew about sweetheart deals

July 28, 2009

AP reports:

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.

(Via Instapundit.)

Dodd plays peek-a-boo

February 4, 2009

If Christopher Dodd (D-CT) were innocent of wrongdoing regarding his “Friends of Angelo” Countrywide mortgage, he could clear his name whenever he wants by releasing the documents.  More than six months ago, he pledged to do just that.  But, for reasons that remain unclear (unclear, that is, if he’s innocent), he hasn’t done so.  His recent decision to give up the mortgage did little to quell the pressure, particularly since interest rates being now near historic lows means it costs him very little to do so.

So, Dodd is trying a new tack.  He allowed a few journalists to see the documents (over 100 pages of them), but only for a few minutes and they were not permitted to make copies.  Moreover, no journalists from the Washington D.C. beat were among the selected few.

Is this how innocent people behave?

(Via Instapundit.)

Dodd to refinance

February 2, 2009

Christopher Dodd is going to refinance his sweetheart mortgage:

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, whose two mortgages with a troubled lender are under a Senate ethics investigation, said Monday he will refinance them.

Sen. Dodd said he sought no special treatment from Countrywide Financial Corp., when he refinanced his Washington and East Haddam, Conn., homes in 2003. Sen. Dodd has acknowledged participating in a VIP program at Countrywide, which he thought referred to upgraded customer service, not reduced rates. . .

The bank, a leading subprime lender at the center of the mortgage meltdown, was sold to Bank of America Corp. last year and has been the focus of allegations that it gave favorable loan terms to lawmakers. . .

Sen. Dodd, whose committee has oversight over the mortgage and banking industries, faced heavy criticism in his home state for not releasing details of his mortgages when the controversy erupted last year. . .

The terms of the mortgages are under investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee.

“I just wanted to put this behind us,” said Sen. Dodd, speaking to reporters in his Hartford office. . .

Sen. Dodd played a key role in crafting the $700 billion Wall Street rescue plan, which allows the government to spend billions of dollars to buy bad mortgage-related securities and other devalued assets from troubled financial institutions.

(Via the Corner, via Instapundit.)

Is “I’ll give it back” a defense for bribery now?

Dodd’s banker says Dodd lied

October 10, 2008

The Countrywide scandal continues:

The Connecticut Senator [Chris Dodd] has been out front denouncing the “companies that form the foundation of our financial markets,” for “their insatiable appetite for risk.” He has also decried “reckless, careless and sometimes unscrupulous actors in the mortgage lending industry” and he has proclaimed that “American taxpayers deserve to know how we arrived at this moment.” To that end, we propose he take the stand — under oath.

Former Countrywide Financial loan officer Robert Feinberg says Mr. Dodd knowingly saved thousands of dollars on his refinancing of two properties in 2003 as part of a special program the California mortgage company had for the influential. He also says he has internal company documents that prove Mr. Dodd knew he was getting preferential treatment as a friend of Angelo Mozilo, Countrywide’s then-CEO.

That a “Friends of Angelo” program existed is not in dispute. It was crucial to the boom that Countrywide enjoyed before its fortunes turned. While most of the company was aggressively lending to risky borrowers and off-loading those mortgages in bulk to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Mr. Feinberg’s department was charged with making sure those who could influence Fannie and Freddie’s appetite for risk were sufficiently buttered up. As a Banking Committee bigshot, Mr. Dodd was perfectly placed to be buttered.

In response to the charge that he knew he was getting favors, Mr. Dodd at first issued a strong denial: “This suggestion is outrageous and contrary to my entire career in public service. When my wife and I refinanced our loans in 2003, we did not seek or expect any favorable treatment. Just like millions of other Americans, we shopped around and received competitive rates.” Less than a week later he acknowledged he was part of Countrywide’s VIP program but claimed he thought it was “more of a courtesy.”

Mr. Feinberg, who oversaw “Friends of Angelo” from 2000 to 2004, begs to differ. He told us that as the loan officer in charge he was supposed to make sure that the “VIP” clients knew at every step of the process that they were getting a special deal because they were “Friends of Angelo.”

The story continues with details of how Countrywide made sure its VIP clients knew they were getting a special detail. It concludes:

Mr. Feinberg says he went public with his story because when he heard Senator Dodd on TV talking about predatory lending, he felt it was “hypocritical” and he says, “I just thought, ‘This is wrong.'”

Mr. Dodd hasn’t yet released his copies of the mortgage documents, though he promised to do so more than two months ago. His office told us this week they’d get back to us on that. Meanwhile, presumably the Justice Department can have Mr. Feinberg’s Countrywide documents, if it’s interested.

I, for one, am glad the Democrats have ended the culture of corruption in Washington.

(Via the Corner.)

Countrywide scandal expands

June 14, 2008

The New York Post reports:

Two influential US senators got “VIP” loans from a leading subprime mortgage lender that saved them tens of thousands of dollars. . .  The Democratic pols, Chris Dodd of Connecticut and Kent Conrad of North Dakota, both received the highly favorable loans under the designation “Friend of Angelo,” a reference to embattled Countrywide head Angelo Mozilo, Condé Nast Portfolio reported.

Dodd is chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, while Conrad is chairman of the Budget Committee and a member of the Finance Committee. The two senators refinanced properties through the VIP program in 2003 and 2004, the report said. . .

The report came one day after Democratic heavyweight Jim Johnson stepped down as chief of Barack Obama’s vice-presidential search committee after revelations he’d gotten Countrywide loans at very favorable rates because of Mozilo. . .

Dodd reportedly received two loans through the program in 2003 – $506,000 to refinance his Washington town house, and $275,042 to refinance a home in Connecticut. The more favorable terms saved him about $70,000, the report says. . . Conrad borrowed $1 million to refinance his vacation home, and saved at least $10,000.

(Via Instapundit.)

Occupy Fannie Mae

October 21, 2011

Investor’s Business Daily has an important reminder of who was responsible for the subprime crash:

POSTSCRIPT: IBD also notes:

And the remaining 29% of private-label junk was mostly attributable to Countrywide Financial, which was under the heel of HUD and its “fair-lending” edicts.

Countrywide Financial should ring a bell.

(Via Instapundit.)