The Main Stream

Jul 5, 2012 2:16 AM

Report: Countrywide won influence with discounts

WASHINGTON, DC - A House report says the lending company whose subprime loans helped start the nation's foreclosure crisis had made hundreds of discount loans.

The loans were made by Countrywide Financial Corp. to buy influence with members of Congress, congressional staff, top government officials and executives of troubled mortgage giant Fannie Mae.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee also names six current and former members of Congress who received discount loans. All the names have surfaced previously.

Some of the discounts were ordered personally by former Countrywide chief executive Angelo Mozilo. Those recipients were known as "Friends of Angelo."

The Justice Department has not prosecuted any Countrywide official. But the House committee's report says Mozilo and company lobbyists "may have skirted the federal bribery statute."

The Securities and Exchange Commission slapped Mozilo with a total of $67.5 million in penalties.

Countrywide was taken over by Bank of America in January 2008.

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