The chairman of a House oversight panel issued a broad subpoena Wednesday seeking documents related to a controversial VIP lending program run by Countrywide Financial Corp., with the goal of finding out which public officials benefited.Accountability. How quaint.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) sent the subpoena to Bank of America Corp. (BAC) , which acquired Countrywide in 2008. Countrywide's former chief executive, Angelo Mozilo, has long faced allegations that he approved loans for favored borrowers in violation of the company's lending policies.
The subpoena is Issa's first as chairman of the oversight panel after Republicans assumed control of the House last month. Issa had clashed in fall 2009 with the committee's former Democratic Chairman, Rep. Edolphus Towns (D., N.Y.) over whether to investigate the program. Towns ultimately agreed to a narrower subpoena.
Towns received two mortgage loans under the program, The Wall Street Journal reported in August 2009. At the time, he contended that he had no knowledge that he was in the program and didn't receive any special treatment.
The loan program, known as "Friends of Angelo," provided loans at rates and terms more favorable than what Countrywide offered to the general public. Lawmakers have been scrutinizing whether those VIP loans were also aimed at influencing public officials.
Issa said Countrywide "orchestrated a deliberate and calculated effort to use relationships with people in high places in order to manipulate public policy and further their bottom line to the detriment of the American taxpayers even at the expense of its own lending standards."
Americans, he said, "have right to know the totality of who participated...and what they did in return for access to it."
Naturally, the Democrats are eager to give Issa the Ken Starr treatment, no holds barred, and no answers as to who's funding the goon squad. ALl part of the new civility and tone in Washington or something.
After last month's shooting of a congresswoman, President Obama urged more civility. How civil is it to destroy a congressional oversight committee chairman for practicing oversight?Maybe someone ought to look under Ace's bed. I bet he's got a private life he'd like to keep private. Lehane is one of the sleaziest operatives out there. If he says Smith is a bad guy, believe him.
Democrats have tapped the political operative known as Dr. Death to lead a character assassination operation against Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight.
Averell "Ace" Smith of San Francisco's liberal Democratic consulting firm SCN Strategies, a "cutthroat" operative who won the California and Texas Democratic primaries for Hillary Clinton in 2008, will leave "no stone unturned in digging into Issa's personal and business history," SCN told Politico this week.
Why Issa? Because the California Republican is asking 180 federal agencies to explain their voluminous Freedom of Information Act request refusals in detail.
He intends to stop government-funded studies of condoms, yoga, video games for the elderly and whether marijuana and malt liquor mix well.
And he demands to know how $160 million in taxpayer money ended up being spent defending Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's former executives in fraud lawsuits.
Someone so intent on digging up the bodies has to be stopped — or discredited. And so the man the San Francisco Chronicle calls "the Dr. Death of Political Opposition Research" is establishing an entity called "the Third Lantern" to dig into Issa's personal life and attack him on TV and radio. It follows an already-existing anti-Issa website, "Courage Campaign."
Democratic strategist and Smith friend Chris Lehane told the Los Angeles Times that "Ace is a Michael Corleone" because he knows "under which rib to insert the knife." Former Democratic strategist Clint Reilly told the Chronicle: "I've seen him walk into a room and the opposition candidate will literally start mumbling." Real estate developer Steve Soboroff told the L.A. Times, "Ace is very mischievous, in a dark way."