Congressman Issa wants to unmask the "Friends of Angelo"
Democrats still trying to keep the list under wraps
We're now many, many moons and many, many billions of dollars past the implosion of Countrywide and its impact on our economy. But what we still haven't finished hashing out is who did what, when, where and with whom that helped put the crisis in motion.
Of course, conservatives have a good idea, with many fingers of blame rightly pointing back to the government and decades long policies that encouraged financial institutions to loan money to people that couldn't pay it back.
But that's another issue. What's at issue at the moment is the names of the politicians that took advantage of their positions to get sweetheart mortgage deals ordinary Americans could never get under what was known as the "Friends of Angelo" program.
Of course, "Angelo" is Angelo Mozilo, the former head of Countrywide who's been charged with insider trading and fraud by be the SEC. And he had a lot of "friends" in Congress. Friends that the Democrat leadership doesn't want the American public to know about. Friends that California Republican congressman Darrell Issa is trying to force in the light of day.
What we know is that Senators Chris Dodd and Kent Conrad were among the VIPs who received sweetheart mortgages under the "Friends of Angelo" program. What we don't know is how many other government officials also received such favors, or what exactly Countrywide expected in return. A March report by Congressman Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) highlighted internal Countrywide emails in which executives debated whether the mayor of Billings, Montana, was influential enough to warrant a waiving of his mortgage insurance premium. The company ultimately decided that he was. We can only imagine what Countrywide's internal emails might say about the benefits of "friendship" with Mr. Dodd, who chairs the Banking Committee of the U.S. Senate, or about others who benefited from the program.
And keep in mind that Countrywide had this program in place to curry favor with the very people that draft the laws that oversee their industry, not long before that industry essentially went belly up. Issa has asked the Democrat Chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (Fox, meet henhouse) to subpoena the records relating to the loan program, but no dice so far. They're hoping everyone will forget about it.