Share This Page

House panel finds no ethics violations in Countrywide loans to legislators

| Friday, Dec. 28, 2012, 7:58 p.m.

WASHINGTON — The House Ethics Committee has reported that it found no violations among House members whose mortgage loans went through the VIP section of the former Countrywide Financial Corp., the company whose subprime loans helped cause the foreclosure crisis.

The committee said on Thursday that nearly all the allegations of favored treatment involved loans that were granted so long ago that they fell outside the panel's jurisdiction. The committee added, however, that participation in the VIP program did not necessarily mean borrowers received the best loan deal available — and most lawmakers were not even aware they were placed in a VIP unit.

The actions of unnamed House staff members were harshly criticized. Emails indicated they reached out to Countrywide lobbyists for assistance with their personal loans, but those actions also were too old to remain in the committee's jurisdiction. The panel said that if the incidents had been more recent, the staff members could have faced discipline.

Countrywide was taken over by Bank of America in 2008. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee reported in July that Countrywide made hundreds of discount loans to buy influence with members of Congress, congressional staff, top government officials and executives of troubled mortgage giant Fannie Mae.

The Oversight report named six current and former members of Congress who received what Countrywide referred to as discounts. All of their names had surfaced previously.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.