For months, Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee have unsuccessfully pressed for a full investigation of Countrywide Financial's "VIP" sweetheart mortgages. Key Democrat leaders like Kent Conrad and Chris Dodd received special treatment, which probably saved them hundreds of thousands of dollars on multiple loans.
Democrats on the committee are torn between savaging their own party's chances in 2010 while trying not to appear soft on corruption. Their strategy? They snuck out a back door and hid so they wouldn't have to appear at the meeting.
Stung by criticism -- and an embarrassing video of the incident, reminiscient of nine-year olds playing hide-and-go-seek -- Democrats decided to lock the door to the room to prevent GOP members from entering.
Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) locked Republicans out of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee room to keep them from meeting when Democrats aren't present... Towns' action came after repeated public ridicule from the leading Republican on the committee, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), over Towns's failure to launch an investigation into Countrywide Mortgage's reported sweetheart deals to VIPs.
For months Towns has refused Republican requests to subpoena records in the case. Last Thursday Committee Republicans, led by Issa, were poised to force an open vote on the subpoenas at a Committee mark-up meeting. The mark-up was abruptly canceled. Only Republicans showed up while Democrats chairs remained empty.
"It's not surprising that they would choose to retaliate given the embarrassment we caused by catching them in a lie on tape,” said Issa spokesman Kurt Bardella. “If only they would use their creative energy to do some actual oversight rather than resorting to immature tactics, but I guess we're getting some insight into what lengths they'll go to avoid addressing the Countrywide VIP issue."
Democrats Conrad and Dodd reportedly received Countrywide's "Friends of Angelo" bonuses while exercising regulatory oversight of the very financial institutions that were about to implode.
Conrad, for instance, received a discount of $10,5000 in fees and a unique mortgage deal in financing a little over $1.1 million.
Dodd, the powerful Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, threatened filibuster after filibuster over additional regulation of the mortgage market while accepting funds and sweetheart mortgages from the very organizations he was supposed to be regulating.
Dodd is also the subject of a Judicial Watch ethics complaint on an unrelated matter: how the Senator came to own an Irish seaside mansion while continually understating the property's true value (by hundreds of thousands of dollars) on his disclosure forms.
"Disguising [the] gift [of the mansion] would provide a motive for Senator Dodd to fail to report the property's true value on his [disclosure] since 2002... By all appearances, ...Dodd used his position and influence... to intervene of behalf of his friend and convicted felon, Edward Downe Jr., and in received in turn a significant discount in the purchase of property in 2002...
...Further, it appears... Dodd failed to report this gift on his annual [disclosure], as required by law, and may have falsified his reports in the years following the full acquisition..."
In addition, it was reported in April that Dodd also raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from financial services companies like Citi, Fidelity, Vanguard, and the like. Since some of these firms accepted TARP funds, it might be fair to say that when Dodd voted for TARP, he voted to put money in his own pockets.
So the lesson, you tax-paying rubes, is this: Congress is above the law. And don't you forget it, peons.
Related Reading:Above the Law: A Handy Guide to Democrat Corruption; The Secret Garden (and Mansion) of Christopher Dodd. Linked by: Gateway Pundit.