RUSH: On Friday, ladies and gentlemen, we reported to you that Countrywide Financial, the home mortgage bunch, ‘the largest mortgage lender at the center of the US housing crisis, regularly gave loans on favorable terms to prominent lawmakers and former cabinet members… The preferential treatment for senators including Democrat Chris Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee and a recent presidential candidate, was approved by Angelo Mozilo, chief executive of Countrywide Financial, the Washington Post reported on Saturday. Conde Nast Portfolio magazine first broke the story on Wednesday, saying the recipients of the favorable terms were known as ‘Friends of Angelo’ in internal company documents and e-mails.’ Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) also received favorable mortgage interest rates from Countrywide. Now the story is today, by the way, ‘Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad said Saturday he is donating $10,500 to charity and refinancing his loan on an apartment building after reviewing documents showing he received special treatment from Countrywide Financial Corp.
‘Conrad said it appears that Countrywide waived 1 point on his mortgage for a Bethany Beach, Del., vacation home. He said he would donate the equivalent amount of money to Habitat for Humanity.’ So once again Kent Conrad, among the smartest 100 guys in government, is sitting up there not knowing that he got a favorable preferential loan from Countrywide. He read about it in the newspaper, when — shazam! — he looked at his loan docs and said, ‘Shazam again! So I’m going to donate that money to charity.’ These guys are out running around now saying that, all these guys, they had no clue. They’re being called the Countrywide Six, and here are the names of politicians, ladies and gentlemen, with favorable mortgage rates from Countrywide. Jim Johnson, former chief of Fannie Mae, Obama advisor, longtime Democrat Party hack. He had to quit from the Obama campaign. He was not the Jim Johnson Obama knew.
Franklin Raines, former chairman, chief executive officer of Fannie Mae who served as Clinton’s budget director and retired from Fannie Mae to halt a US Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into accounting irregularities while he was there. Donna Shalala, the former secretary of Health and Human Services, who in 1993, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, along with several other groups, filed a lawsuit against her over closed-door meetings related to Hillary Care, socialized health care plan, ‘and since leaving the administration, was embroiled in scandals at the University of Florida due to her extravagant lifestyle. She was just awarded the Medal of Honor last week by President Bush.’ But she got a favorable loan. Richard Holbrooke, former UN ambassador, assistant secretary of state — who, as UN ambassador, ignored whistleblower reports about the infamous oil-for-food scandals. Then there is Senator Chris Dodd, who oversees the US mortgage industry as chairman of the banking committee and Kent Conrad, who we have spoken of.
The Countrywide Six, as dubbed by John Bender at EnterStageRight.com. It’s interesting. The Wall Street Journal has now gotten into the act on this. The Wall Street Journal is suggesting here that this be investigated. ‘For the sake of its shareholders and taxpayers who are ultimately on the hook, Fannie Mae should immediately launch an internal investigation into the terms offered to Countrywide…’ Because I forgot to mention to you, Congress, Pelosi and these Democrats, are offering legislation to bail out the mortgage industry and some borrowers. It’s a $300 billion deal to bail out these lenders, and Countrywide is one of them. So the Wall Street Journal says, Wait a minute! We need to launch an investigation ‘into the terms offered to Countrywide and exactly what roles Mr. Johnson and Mr. Raines played in the negotiation of these terms. Did these men exert any pressure on Fannie Mae employees to do business with Countrywide? They also say that Congress needs a full accounting of contacts between Countrywide and the politicians receiving favors from the lender. Did Countrywide ask for and receive assistance from the Friends of Angelo? With Senate banking chairman Dodd at the center of the scandal, ranking member Richard Shelby and house financial services chairman Barney Frank will have to lead the inquiry.
‘But taxpayers should not have to wait for the results of an investigation. Democrats in Congress are trying to pass a bailout for mortgage borrowers and lenders like Countrywide, and they have been holding reform of Fannie Mae and its cousin Freddie Mac hostage to get President Bush to agree to it. Dodd’s one of the main hostage takers. It’s time that he and Barney Frank drop this political ransom taking and finally subjected Fannie and Freddie to tough oversight. Meanwhile, until it’s clear how much Countrywide will benefit from Senator Dodd’s proposed $300 billion mortgage rescue and exactly how Mr. Dodd came to do business with Countrywide, Congress should call a halt to legislating bailouts. Taxpayers deserve no less.’ Now, an interesting question here: Where is Obama? This guy is in the Senate when it’s happening; he’s the Democrat presidential nominee. Where’s Obama in this? Folks, Democrats who are out there just ripping these ‘predatory lenders’ all to hell and proposing bailouts, got sweetheart loans from Countrywide! They’re Democrats, every one of them. And I thought it was the ‘culture of corruption’ that sent the Republicans to the minority in the November 2006 elections.
RUSH: Here is Barbara in Acworth, Georgia. Barbara, I’m glad you waited. Welcome to the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Hey, hi. I’m a native of North Dakota. I haven’t lived there for 20 years, but I consider it my home. And I am furious about Senator Conrad’s sweetheart deal. And I was reading in the paper today, in an Associated Press story, that he said he did not think for one moment and that no one ever suggested that he was getting special treatment. But my question is —
RUSH: Well —
CALLER: — why do you call a CEO of company to get a common mortgage loan, and how do you get that number?
RUSH: (laughs) Not only that. There’s a story also in the AP Conrad had no clue! Kent Conrad had no clue that he’s gotten this deal. He just now after the story hit happened to be reviewing the loan papers and he saw that Countrywide whacked a percentage point off of his rate. So he is going to send the equivalent, $10,500 to a charity.
CALLER: Well, I think the people of North Dakota — since he works for them and he used his position to better himself, that — they need to call Conrad’s office and demand that he work for them also and get them a sweetheart deal.
CALLER: I think this is terrible.
RUSH: I do, too. And it’s typical, is it not? These people getting sweetheart deals, they sit along as innocent bystanders and spectators. They are the reason this whole thing happened in the first place! Congress passed legislation back during the Clinton years demanding that lenders make money available to people that were high risk and had very little ability to pay it back, particularly on adjustable rate mortgages. And then when the adjustable rate got adjusted upwards, ‘Why, these poor people! Why, they had no clue what they had signed.’ Excuse me? Who does not know what ‘ARM’ stands for? What does adjustable rate mortgage — just how much of an education do you not have in order to not know what adjustable rate mortgage is when the lender tells you? So this whole thing got started by Congress. Now they sit around and accept their sweetheart deals, and then act like they had no clue?
CALLER: Can I just tell you one more thing?
CALLER: My 81-year-old mother thought the news world revolved around Tim Russert and she was devastated on Saturday and called all of us that were around his age to say, ‘Take care of yourselves, please.’ Because I think that my news world resolves around you, consider this my phone call to you.
RUSH: Well, thank you.
CALLER: Take care of yourself.
RUSH: I appreciate that very much. I’ve had… You’re not first in line, let me assure you, but you’re the first to call me on the program to do that, and I appreciate it.
CALLER: Thank you very much.
RUSH: All right. Thank you, Barbara.