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There’s always something to howl about

“But we’ve got to have some regulation!” How else are insiders going to get their mitts onto sweetheart mortgage deals?

Regulation is rent-seeking, Rotarian Socialist graft, and that’s all it ever is. Who sold out the housing market? The regulators, of course.

AP: Countrywide won influence with discounts.

HousingWire: Investigation reveals Countrywide VIP program scope and influence.

Bloomberg: Countrywide Used Loans For Favor With Fannie Mae, Report Says.

I love this bit from the AP story:

Among those who received loan discounts from Countrywide, the report said, were:

—Former Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, D-Conn.

—Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D.

—Mary Jane Collipriest, who was communications director for former Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah, then a member of the Banking Committee. The report said Dodd referred Collipriest to Countrywide’s VIP unit. Dodd, when commenting on his own loans, said that he was unaware of receiving preferential treatment but knew his loans were handled by the VIP unit.

The Senate’s ethics committee investigated Dodd and Conrad but did not charge them with any ethical wrongdoing.

—Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

—Rep. Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y., former chairman of the Oversight Committee. Towns issued the first subpoena to Bank of America for Countrywide documents, and current Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., subpoenaed more documents. The committee said that in responding to the Towns subpoena, Bank of America left out documents related to Towns’ loan.

—Rep. Elton Gallegly, R-Calif.

—Top staff members of the House Financial Services Committee.

—A staff member of Rep. Ruben Hinojosa, D-Texas, a member of the Financial Services Committee.

—Former Rep. Tom Campbell, R-Calif.

—Former Housing and Urban Development Secretaries Alphonso Jackson and Henry Cisneros; former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala. The VIP unit processed Cisneros’s loan after he joined Fannie’s board of directors.

—Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, was an exception. He told the VIP unit not to give him a discount, and he did not receive one.

—Former heads of Fannie Mae James Johnson, Daniel Mudd and Franklin Raines. Countrywide took a loss on Mudd’s loan. Fannie employees were the most frequent recipients of VIP loans. Johnson received a discount after Mozilo waived problems with his credit rating.

The report said Mozilo “ordered the loan approved, and gave Johnson a break. He instructed the VIP unit: ‘Charge him ½ under prime. Don’t worry about (the credit score). He is constantly on the road and therefore pays his bills on an irregular basis but he ultimately pays them.”

Johnson in 2008 resigned as a leader of then-candidate Barack Obama’s vice presidential search committee after The Wall Street Journal reported he had received $7 million in Countrywide discounted loans.

The report said those who received the discounts knew the loans were handled by a special VIP unit.

“The documents produced by the bank show that VIP borrowers received paperwork from Countrywide that clearly identified the VIP unit as the point of contact,” the committee said.

The standard discount was .5 waived points. Countrywide also waived junk fees that usually ranged from $350 to $400.

You insist, contrary to all evidence, that Batman will rush in to save you from the harsh, cruel world. Now you know the market price of Batman’s “integrity” — 50 basis points.

There’s a clue in the air. If you breathe deeply, you just might catch it.

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