Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) received up to six sweetheart home loans from Countrywide Financial, even though he has only publicly admitted to accepting two special deals, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.
The revelations were brought to light by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, raising questions about a previous Senate ethics committee investigation into Dodd’s dealings with Countrywide that just disclosed information about two of the loans.
The word "reform" in the age of Obama has taken on a clear meaning: aggressive expansion of government control over economic decision-making by businesses and consumers. The recently-passed health care bill, rammed through Congress via highly unorthodox parliamentary procedures, is evidence enough of that. Yet even supporters of new financial services reform legislation now before the full Senate may be hard-pressed to explain how the mammoth 1,336-page measure is supposed to improve efficiency and integrity in credit markets.
Of all the factors behind the collapse of America's financial institutions during the second half of 2008, few have been as trumpeted - or misunderstood - as the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). This Carter-era legislation, intended to boost residential mortgage lending in lower-income urban neighborhoods, increasingly has served as a blank check for community groups to shake down depository institutions into lowering their credit standards to reach marginally qualified borrowers. In extracting such concessions, these groups have contributed to the ongoing explosion in loan defaults and foreclosures. Undaunted, House Democrats, led by Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Tex., are proposing to make the CRA even more aggressive in rooting out "redlining," the practice by which mortgage lenders allegedly refuse to extend credit to low-income and often nonwhite minority neighborhoods.