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Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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June 26, 2008 6:53 AM

Cantwell has Countrywide mortgage

Posted by David Postman

Politico reports that Sen. Maria Cantwell "has a mortgage with Countrywide Financial Corp. — the same company that provided special VIP mortgage deals to Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.)"

Politico requested mortgage information from senators and as of yesterday only Cantwell had failed to respond.

Presented with public records Wednesday, Cantwell spokeswoman Ciaran Clayton said that Cantwell originally obtained the mortgage on her Edmonds, Wash., home from U.S. Bank but that U.S. Bank subsequently sold the loan to Countrywide.

It’s a common practice for mortgages to be sold after they’re originated, and the transfer often happens without any involvement by the homeowner.

Asked if Cantwell had any contact with Countrywide during the transaction, Clayton said, “Not that I’m aware of.” Asked if Cantwell received any special terms on the loan, Clayton said, “I don’t know the details.” Clayton said Cantwell’s Washington, D.C., condominium is financed through U.S. Bank.

Yesterday Gov. Chris Gregoire accused Countrywide of predatory and discriminatory lending.

UPDATE: Clayton just called. She says Cantwell received no special terms on her loan. She said the office did not see the written request for mortgage information from Politico and there was no intent to avoid the questions.

When a Politico reporter called, Clayton said she answered all the questions posed to her.

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Posted by JimD

9:24 AM, Jun 26, 2008

These loans are usually sold to other banks in "bundles".
To my knowledge, many consumer - sometimes unknowingly - sign-away the right to challenge this secondary transaction when negotiating the original loan, and agree that the loan's new owner may change the terms.
To my knowledge (and it's been a while since I've had direct experience) the consumer is sometimes just informed that the loan will be, or has already been sold to another institution.
Hence, the original loan agreement allows the industry to increase the loan's value by reselling it at an enhanced value.

Or course - this is yet another example of how less government regulation results in consumer rip-offs and massive fraud.
The Bush administration should have been on top of how banks were pushing into new creative territory - the mandate of SEC and other regulatory agencies.
Yes - several institutions are now under investigation and no doubt many profiteers will go to jail.
But it's a little late for the millions of home owners who got ripped-off while the Bush administration sat on its hands and failed to oversee and regulate per its obligation and duty.

Posted by John

9:47 AM, Jun 26, 2008

Someone wrote:

"But it's a little late for the millions of home owners who got ripped-off while the Bush administration sat on its hands and failed to oversee and regulate per its obligation and duty."

Last time I looked the "d's" took control of our government in 2006 and is still running it today!
Congress makes laws or fixes the laws they screwed up!

Our person in the Governors office went after countrywide as soon as two other states that have proactive governors sued countrywide.

Posted by Bothsides

12:27 PM, Jun 26, 2008

Sounds like a total "non issue" to me.


Here's a link to the GAO report

You'll notice that John McCain is no where to be found in the 67 pages, that's becasue the US Air Force sent out the RFP and awarded the bid. Sorry buddy, you can try and blame it all on McCain but it just won't stick.

Posted by P

12:43 PM, Jun 26, 2008

JimD, It amazes me how ridiculous you Dems are. On the one hand, Republicans are always at fault when something, anything, goes wrong in the USA. On the other hand, Dems, who have been caught red-handed with their hands in the cooky jar, get some lame rationalization from you.

How do you live with yourself? I mean you're the most dishonest poster here. How much are you getting paid by the Democrat State Party hacks? Or, are you a paid union hack?

Posted by JimD

5:00 AM, Jun 27, 2008

P wrote:
:...On the one hand, Republicans are always at fault when something, anything, goes wrong in the USA. On the other hand, Dems, who have been caught red-handed with their hands in the cooky jar, get some lame rationalization from you...."

Republicans are at fault when they're in charge of the problem at hand.
The "Dems" don't run the federal administrative branch of government (white house).
The Republican administration does.
It's common knowledge that this republican white house has fought tooth and nail to reduce government regulation and interference in business - permitting cheap, illegal labor to virtually walk across the border to reduce labor costs to business, permitting poison toys and pet food (and who knows what else) to be imported without proper regulatory oversight of its safety, giving tax breaks to American corporations that move jobs and facilities out of the country, and of course - permitting the banking and lending industry to run wild with unprecedented speculation and outright fraud.
It's the administrative branch's responsibility - through its appointed departments - to protect American consumers with mandated regulation and oversight.
But combine an extremist anti-regulatory, pro-business administration that doesn't even think it should do much regulation, with a private market that will take a mile if you give them an inch...and the result is the mess we have today.
Home ownership - American's biggest asset and traditionally off-limits to anything but the most conservative financial foundation, was allowed to run amok by an administration that simply failed to regulate the industry per it's duty.

If the democrats were in charge of the administrative departments that have failed to regulate private enterprise to the benefit of the American people - employment of illegals, poison imports, banking and lending (just to name a few) I'd be just as critical, as I am with any number of faults I DO find with democrats, primarily swinging too much the other way.
But the fact is - administration manages these government entities, and the republicans who we elected to do this have continuously and irresponsibly dropped the ball.
The Democratically controlled congress can only hold so many hearings and investigations to pick-up the slack of this administration's failures.
And in fact, there are many democrats in congress who's concern for good government is no better of course.
No one's saying democrats are of pure virtue either (at least I'm not).

That's why we need new leadership at the top - up for the task of bring things in line across party lines and in service to the American people, not just the penthouse elite.
This is why I support Barack Obama for President.
His dynamic, pragmatic approach to problems and solutions is virtually the opposite of Bush's closed-minded arrogance and contempt for the middle class - not to mention the constitution, our foreign diplomacy... a disgraceful list that insures he'll go down in history as our worst president.
It's not my fault republicans elected him, praised him, thought he was just peachy and STILL insist they like the way he's handled the country and want to elect his virtual duplicate for yet another four years of this nightmare.

When democrats screw things up in the administrative branch (white house) as bad as Bush and the republicans have, I'll obviously hold them to the same ridicule, as I am an independent who doesn't think much of any of them, and consider most political choices the difference between two evils.
It just so happens the democrats are more in-line with my values and beliefs, but I hope they don't take it as too much of compliment ;-)

Does that answer your question about why I complain about the performance of Bush and other republicans who control the administrative branch of our government, more than the democrats do do not control the administrative branch of government, P?
Do you understand that this is a republican "administration" - one of three equal branches of government, which republicans have held control through Bush for nearly eight years?
How can I complain about a democratic administration when there isn't one?

Posted by JimD

7:01 AM, Jun 27, 2008

John wrote:
.."Last time I looked the "d's" took control of our government in 2006 and is still running it today!..."

There are three branches of federal government:
1. Administrative (Bush the last eight years)
2. Representative - Senators and Congressmen
3. Judicial - The Supreme and Federal Courts

The representative branch writes law.
The judicial branch checks law against the constitution.
The administrative branch - run by Bush the last eight years - ENFORCES the law and regulations with the FBI, CIA, Homeland Security, SEC, FAA, Immigration and Naturalization, FCC, Federal DOT...and dozens more.
They're represented by department or agency heads known as the president's "cabinet" that report directly to the president.
The slim Democratic majority of 2006 did not change who enforces and regulates - or in this case, FAILS to enforce and regulate - the laws and regulations of the land; The president.

All the good laws and regulations in the world - and we have some very effective legislation - won't do much good if the President fails to make his cabinet departments follow them or enforce them.
And this president has failed miserably at everything from immigration enforcement, food and safety, financial and name it.

Much of the mortgage mess was blatantly illegal.
Entering the country without authorization is blatantly illegal.
Poisoning our families (and pets) with tainted products is blatantly illegal.

I'm not sure which country you come from, but our three-branch system does not give much regulatory and enforcement authority to the representatives in the Congress or Senate.
Their job is to write law.
Enforcement and "making it happen" belongs to the administrative branch - the President - per our constitution.

There are some excellent, free resources on-line for learning the branches of government and their respective responsibilities.
Wickipedia offers comprehensive, easy to understand explanations of American civics.

Posted by Chris

9:13 AM, Jun 27, 2008


Your judicial application of limited knowledge is what I would expect. I would also expect that if we were to discuss the the person at the top did during any other mess, say Clinton, you would be the first to bring up the Republican dominated Congress.

Furthermore, show me a Democrat congressman that would have supported any further requlation to this "housing mess" if the Bush Administration had proposed it. The skyrocketing housing prices and subsequent taxes that resulted from home sales, purchases and construction related fees and taxes on new homes was making their tax revenue soar. It was a dream come true for the entitlement mongers.

And now they get to sweep in for the rescue, furthering the entitlement dole outs and looking like Santa Claus.

Personal responsibility and accountability.

Find some.

Posted by John

9:34 AM, Jun 27, 2008

To whoever you are today.

You still believe in the tooth fairy too.

Posted by JimD

2:11 PM, Jun 27, 2008

Well Chris, when all else fails, start pointing at Clinton again.

Except now - in hindsight - Clinton's administration looks like it may be the best eight years of peace and prosperity we may see in our lifetime.

Which supports my contention that although the judicial and representative branches are critical legs in our three-legged stool of democracy, the executive branch actually RUNS the government, including law enforcement and all manner of "ADMINISTRATION" - as any high school civics student should be able to tell you.

Clinton - eight good years under a democrat administration.
Bush - eight disastrous years under a republican administration.

End of story.

Posted by JimD

2:34 PM, Jun 27, 2008

....except...(lol)....skyrocketing housing tax revenue was a dream come true for a republican administration running us into dept faster than we could print money.

Entitlement mongers? The only ones' this economy has served well are the elite, high-end, which have to wait an average of nine months for a Bentley, the demand is so high now from America's newly minted super wealthy.
Republicans have absolutely no standing to compare anyone's sense of entitlement to their belief that the rest of us live to serve their privilege status.
You don't even want them to pay their fair share of progressive tax during "a time of war".

Entitlement monger?
In your mirror.

Posted by AD

12:14 AM, Jun 29, 2008

Why doesn't any journalist ever note that Maria Cantwell has had loan problems in the past? Everyone jumps on the unethical mortgage bus now, but remember 2000? A week or so before the election, Cantwell took out a huge loan to finance the last push of her campaign. She used her home as collateral for that loan (which is illegal). Then she failed to report that loan in a timely fashion (which is illegal). After the election she got a slap on the wrist.

Lesson for politicians: it doesn't matter if you break campaign finance laws as long as you do it RIGHT BEFORE the election. By the time anyone finds out, you'll already have won and by the time you face reelection it will be old news!!

Posted by Fearless

8:34 AM, Jun 29, 2008

so let me see, home ownership is the highest it has been under Bush. Americans have reacted to the need to keep up with the Jones by buying on credit and then refinancing they way out of it. Ummm sounds like you can not regulate stupid. These are the same programs that Wall Street and the Pension funds wanted to buy. However, when the delinquency rate got too high then bamm pull the plug Katie bar the door. Well you know what maybe the State should set limits on what Credit Cards can charge for interest if they are really in favor of helping the working middle class.

Kennewick WA

Posted by JimD

9:46 AM, Jun 29, 2008

If all else were equal, we would EXPECT home ownership to increase commensurate with an ever growing population.
The fact that this administration's failures didn't eventually create a negative slide in home ownership until the last year of it's term, is hardly evidence of any overall success.
Are you suggesting we're better of with an ownership spike doomed to collapse?
That somehow these millions of people who lost their life savings are now better off having owned a home for a couple years and then losing everything?

Sure - there are always folks trying to live beyond their means.
Denying home financing to those not financially worthy has always been a responsibility of the lending industry.
We've come to count on home lenders to not write bad loans - a check against our struggle to over reach the American dream of home ownership.
This conservative lending ethic surely kept many older home owners from making bad choices - the same folks who now take full credit for the responsible decisions imposed on them before predatory, creative financing not only became the norm, but was aggressively SOLD to more recent lending consumers.

What's particularly galling about the administrations's failure to protect consumers from these sharks, is how it ex amplifies the kind of instant gratification over long-range responsibility this administration has pushed on us for eight years.
Our country has gone into horrendous dept buying a war we didn't need, with a no-limit Chinese credit card, and are now obligated to import all manner of defective imports to back it up.
Me thinks those who blame victims of the housing meltdown on consumer's lack of financial responsibility while defending the administration lack of same, are a bit hypocritical.

Posted by John

12:57 PM, Jun 29, 2008

To whoever,
Need to ware boots after your post.

Posted by John

1:21 PM, Jun 29, 2008

To whoever,
The only thing Government dose right is War if the politicians stay out of it.

All else is a totally failure. Politicians make laws knowing it will need to be either fixed or repaired this ridiculous journey
gives them a government job for life.

Congress makes laws not President. Who do you think did Welfare reform in the 90's Clinton?

Posted by John

2:01 PM, Jun 29, 2008

To whoever,
If Presidents are responsible for everything like you have said this President is.Then why after 8 years of a clinton are we still talking about health care?

Posted by JimD

10:57 PM, Jun 29, 2008

"...To whoever,
If Presidents are responsible for everything like you have said this President is.Then why after 8 years of a clinton are we still talking about health care?.."

Because healthcare was still relatively affordable in the 90's, and more employers could afford to offer most of its cost as part of their total wage package.
The doubling or tripling of healthcare cost has only occurred during the last eight years.

Posted by John

12:36 AM, Jun 30, 2008

No, No, No,
The trail lawyers are to blame.
The Democrats always need to blame someone to get elected or to have a issue like health care to kick around and the lawyers are in their back pocket.
Isn't it funny how politicians come into office upper middle class and leave with millions.

Posted by JimD

7:21 AM, Jun 30, 2008

Trial lawyers?
Check your facts.
The healthcare industry pays something like 2% (low single digits for sure) for malpractice awards and their attorney's fees.

There are several factors to "blame" for high healthcare costs.
One of course, is the wide range of expensive new treatments previous unavailable.
Old "no cures" have been replaced with almost miraculous life-saving science and technology.
But at a price, and the price is very high.

Another preason healthcare is so expensive for the insured is because roughly a third of our population gets it for free by being uninsured.
Hospitals don't turn away uninsured sick or injured people to die.
And they poass that cost on to those who DO pay into insurance funds.
A hospital bills $7 for an aspirin to pay for the $250,000 of free emergency care they gave to some kid who's parents can't afford health insurance.
If everyone paid at least some of their fair share, the cost to the rest of us would go down.
That's one of the theories behind universal healthcare, at least.

Posted by upchuck

8:42 AM, Jun 30, 2008

in explaining health care costs it should also be noted that we pay roughly 30% towards overhead and insurance industry profits compared with 2-3% in countries with socialized (aka civilized) healthcare.

Posted by John

9:48 AM, Jun 30, 2008

"The healthcare industry pays something like 2% (low single digits for sure) for malpractice awards and their attorney's fees."

Can you prove this?

Posted by JimD

8:10 AM, Jul 02, 2008

"Think Malpractice is Driving Up Health Care Costs? Think Again.....In 2002, payouts were less. than one percent (0.38%). 2002 U.S. Health Care. Costs (100%). Medical Malpractice...."

There are many studies and analysis that all point to a similar conclusion. Even if you factor-in all the secondary costs - not just malpractice payouts, which include atorney's fees of course - the combined cost to consumers in their premiums is in the low, single-digit percentage range.

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