Hey, I’ll give you a sweet mortgage deal in exchange for looking the other way

When I visited Mexico a few years ago, I was struck by the way that corruption was built into their society as a routine part of life.  For example, the friend that I was staying with in the mountains of Veracruz was in the process of giving a minivan to a local official to ensure that he would get a plot in a new housing development.  He asked if this type of deal was common in the US, and I responded that it wasn’t for us little folk.  We don’t have so much of a problem with low level daily corruption in the US, but we sure as hell have a problem with the Haliburtons and Countrywides buying friends and influencing lawmakers:

Countrywide issued hundreds of VIP loans to buy influence, report says by Les Christie and Rebecca Stewart for CNNMoney, Jul. 5, 2012

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Countrywide Financial, once the nation’s largest mortgage lender, bought influence on Capitol Hill by issuing hundreds of sweetheart loans for members of Congress, their staffs and other government employees, according to a report issued by the House of Representatives Thursday.

The three-year investigation, which was led by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, revealed the extent to which Countrywide was offering discounted loans and other perks to Congress members and other officials in order to benefit its business interests.

Referred to as the “VIP program” or the “Friends of Angelo” program — after former Countrywide founder and CEO Angelo Mozilo — this preferential treatment varied with the importance and influence of the borrowers and included such perks as lower loan rates, expedited loan processing and less stringent underwriting standards, the report said.

Darrell Issa is no stranger to scams and criminality so, Fast and Furious not withstanding, you know shit is messed up when he is the one calling out corruption.


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