Countrywide 'Sweetheart Loans' Tied to Legislation

Rick Moran
Not making many headlines because the perps are Democrats, the sweetheart loan deals that former Obama Vice Presidential vetter Jim Johnson accepted from Countrywide Chairman Angelo Mozilo have ensnared two Democratic senators; Ken Conrad of North Dakota and former presidential candidate Chris Dodd of Connecticut.

Conrad's approach was outrageous. Here's how the
Wall Street Journal describes Conrad's dealings with Countrywide and Mozilo:


Take Senator Kent Conrad, the North Dakota Democrat whose office issued a Friday statement saying that "I never met Angelo Mozilo." What he did not say then but admitted under later questioning by a Journal reporter is that, although he may not have had a face-to-face meeting with the Countrywide CEO, Mr. Conrad had called Mr. Mozilo and asked for a loan. The result was a discounted loan on his million-dollar beach house and a separate commercial loan of a type that residential lender Countrywide did not even offer to other customers, regardless of the rate.

So after calling the CEO of a company with various matters before the Senate, asking for a loan and then receiving at least two sweetheart deals, Mr. Conrad now says: "I did not think for one moment - and no one ever suggested to me - that I was getting preferential treatment."



The arrogance is breathtaking. And going Conrad one better was Dodd who, as Chairman of the Banking Committee, oversaw actual legislation that directly benefitted Mozilo and Countrywide:

The same goes for Senator Christopher Dodd (D., Conn.), who chairs the very Banking Committee responsible for drafting the laws that govern Countrywide's market. Mr. Dodd is still in denial mode, but so far no one has knocked down the Portfolio.com story that he received discounted loans as part of Countrywide's "Friends of Angelo" program.

But it is Countrywide's connections to Fannie Mae that may turn out to be the most problematic. The government lender did an enormous amount of business with Countrywide and Mozilo evidently encouraged that business by granting sweetheart loans to executives like Johnson as well as lawmakers like Conrad and Dodd.

Democrats in Congress are pushing a bailout of both borrowers and lenders like Countrywide and they have been holding up legislation to reform Fannie Mae (and Freddie Mac) until Bush signs off on the giveaway. Is it coincidence that Dodd is one of the chief sponsors of this giveway and heavily involved in this quid pro quo demand from the Senate on desperately needed Fannie Mae reform?

Judging by the goodies he got from Mozilo, one would have to conclude that Dodd and Conrad have some questions to answer.
Not making many headlines because the perps are Democrats, the sweetheart loan deals that former Obama Vice Presidential vetter Jim Johnson accepted from Countrywide Chairman Angelo Mozilo have ensnared two Democratic senators; Ken Conrad of North Dakota and former presidential candidate Chris Dodd of Connecticut.

Conrad's approach was outrageous. Here's how the
Wall Street Journal describes Conrad's dealings with Countrywide and Mozilo:


Take Senator Kent Conrad, the North Dakota Democrat whose office issued a Friday statement saying that "I never met Angelo Mozilo." What he did not say then but admitted under later questioning by a Journal reporter is that, although he may not have had a face-to-face meeting with the Countrywide CEO, Mr. Conrad had called Mr. Mozilo and asked for a loan. The result was a discounted loan on his million-dollar beach house and a separate commercial loan of a type that residential lender Countrywide did not even offer to other customers, regardless of the rate.

So after calling the CEO of a company with various matters before the Senate, asking for a loan and then receiving at least two sweetheart deals, Mr. Conrad now says: "I did not think for one moment - and no one ever suggested to me - that I was getting preferential treatment."



The arrogance is breathtaking. And going Conrad one better was Dodd who, as Chairman of the Banking Committee, oversaw actual legislation that directly benefitted Mozilo and Countrywide:

The same goes for Senator Christopher Dodd (D., Conn.), who chairs the very Banking Committee responsible for drafting the laws that govern Countrywide's market. Mr. Dodd is still in denial mode, but so far no one has knocked down the Portfolio.com story that he received discounted loans as part of Countrywide's "Friends of Angelo" program.

But it is Countrywide's connections to Fannie Mae that may turn out to be the most problematic. The government lender did an enormous amount of business with Countrywide and Mozilo evidently encouraged that business by granting sweetheart loans to executives like Johnson as well as lawmakers like Conrad and Dodd.

Democrats in Congress are pushing a bailout of both borrowers and lenders like Countrywide and they have been holding up legislation to reform Fannie Mae (and Freddie Mac) until Bush signs off on the giveaway. Is it coincidence that Dodd is one of the chief sponsors of this giveway and heavily involved in this quid pro quo demand from the Senate on desperately needed Fannie Mae reform?

Judging by the goodies he got from Mozilo, one would have to conclude that Dodd and Conrad have some questions to answer.