- JetBlue pilots vote to unionize; 2 previous attempts failed
- Pentagon plans to replace flight crews with ‘full-time’ robots
- Navy’s military dolphins may meet Putin’s porpoises in Black Sea
- Forget the Porsche — it’s the guy with the Prius that attracts the ladies, poll shows
- Fired Russian Facebook CEO says site has fallen in the hands of pro-Putin supporters
- Sen. Boozman of Arkansas has emergency heart surgery
- Brazil embraces drones to save the Amazon rain forest
- Teen stowaway shows holes in vast airport security
- Supreme Court to decide if passports can say ‘Jerusalem, Israel’
- Cries of anguish as South Korea ferry toll tops 100
House ethics panel asked to probe discounted loans to four lawmakers
Four House lawmakers received VIP discounted loans from the former Countrywide Financial Corp., the lender whose subprime mortgages was largely responsible for the nation’s foreclosure crisis, according to congressional investigators.
Rep. Darrell E. Issa, California Republican and chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, declined to name the four but has told the House ethics panel that it should investigate the lawmakers.
Congressional sources said three of the four are Republicans. The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity, because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the investigation.
In 2009, Democratic Rep. Edolphus Towns of New York was identified in the media as having two loans that went through the Countrywide VIP program. On Monday, Mr. Towns insisted he was not involved in a VIP program of the lender and did not receive benefits that weren’t available to every customer of the lender.
Mr. Issa, in a letter dated Friday and released Monday, said there could be additional lawmakers who received discounted loans.
The most favored customers of Countrywide were known as “Friends of Angelo,” who were given discounts in a VIP section under control of the company’s CEO, Angelo Mozilo. However, Mr. Issa said his investigators discovered that other sections of Countrywide also processed VIP loans to public officials and others in position to help the company.
Mr. Issa’s letter to ethics Chairman Jo Bonner of Alabama and ranking Democrat Linda T. Sanchez of California said that between 1996 and 2008, “Countrywide used the VIP program to build relationships with government officials and others positioned to advance Countrywide’s business interests.
It was previously revealed that Sens. Kent Conrad, North Dakota Democrat, and Christopher Dodd, Connecticut Democrat, while still in office received VIP loans from Countrywide. Both said they did not know they were getting unique deals and Mr. Dodd maintained he received no preferential treatment.
Others named as recipients of the VIP program were James Johnson, former head of Fannie Mae who later stepped down as an adviser to Barack Obama’s first 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.
The Senate’s ethics committee looked at the Dodd and Conrad cases and cleared them of wrongdoing, but warned that they should have exercised better judgment.
TWT Video Picks
Feds who send arms against ranch families betray American values
- CARSON: When government looks more like foe than friend
- Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy hailed as patriot, renegade
- Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear
- IRS revokes conservative group's tax-exempt status over anti-Clinton statements: report
- America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic, university study finds
- Michelle Obama: Obama family Sundays are more for napping than church
- Supreme Court upholds Michigan affirmative action ban
- Supreme Court seems skeptical of Ohio law to police campaign 'lies'
- Kerry accuses Moscow of fomenting Ukraine unrest
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.