Eva Knott 6:37 p.m., May 25
Issa's Committee Reports on Countrywide's VIP Loans
The former Countrywide Financial showered preferential VIP loans on politicians, lobbyists, bureaucrats and others who could wield influence on behalf of the company, according to report released this week by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, chaired by North County Republican Darrell Issa. (Issa himself, one of the richest members of Congress, has been hit by ethics allegations, complaining that he used his influence to further his North County business interests.) Names of the recipients of the VIP loans have been known for some time, including former Sen. Christopher Dodd (D.-Conn), Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA), and former Rep. Tom Campbell (R-CA). Those who got the VIP loans have stated they were not aware they were getting special treatment.
Most disturbing were loans to government-sponsored mortgage enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Former Fannie Mae chief executive James Johnson, a well-known Democrat, received more than $10 million in VIP loans.