Posts Tagged ‘Financial Crisis’

[original post 4/20/2010]

Last week, in CFPA Czar or Fox in the Hen House? You Decide, I brought you more details about the people and structure of the ACORN-esque Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) and the Center for Community Self Help (CCSH) as part of a series of pieces we’ve been writing about the financial crisis and the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA).

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The importance of the pieces in this series cannot be understated.  As Congress faces down a massive power-grabbing partisan financial reform bill this week, it seems to have lost sight of many of the causes of the financial crisis in the first place.  While we hear about the exemptions in the bill of institutions like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the stories we’ve been covering on CRL and CCSH further illustrate the dangers of unchecked entities and a government with too much intervention and far too much power.

At the peak of the subprime mortgage boom and the subsequent financial crisis, primary donors to CRL and CCSH basked in billions of dollars in pure profit, thanks in large part to that very intervention and power.

Next, we’re going to introduce you to the questionable lobbying activities of this complex organization.  But before we do, let’s review a few pertinent details from our previous posts about this organization:

  • John Paulson is the largest single donor to the Center for Responsible Lending.  Paulson owns one of the world’s largest hedge funds, and most recently, the SEC has alleged “that Paulson & Co. paid Goldman Sachs to structure a transaction in which Paulson & Co. could take short positions against mortgage securities chosen by Paulson & Co. based on a belief that the securities would experience credit events.”
  • Herb and Marion Sandler are the second largest donors to CRL, and together with Paulson appear to comprise the majority of the organization’s funding.  The couple owned GoldenWest Financial/World Savings bank, before selling it for over $2 billion to Wachovia, which tanked shortly thereafter
  • Eric Stein, who once worked for Fannie Mae (an institution currently exempt from regulation in the financial reform bill), was also the longtime leader of CRL and Sr. Vice President of CCSH.  Today, Stein sits in Obama’s Treasury Department in charge of crafting the current financial reform legislation and the new Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA).

Now, onto the lobbying.

A complaint that was filed with the House, Senate, and the IRS alleges that CRL, CCSH, and its vast network of non-profit and for-profit companies may have committed serious violations of the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) and the Honest Leadership in Open Government Act (HLOGA).  The complaint was filed in the Fall of 2009 by the Consumers Rights League.

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[original post 4/16/2010]

The activity surrounding the controversial Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) in the financial reform legislation is really picking up these days.  But many Americans would never know it.  It seems Democrats may have learned something from the experience of the health care bill after all.  In their efforts to avert a repeat disaster of losing control of the message, they appear to be taking every step necessary to ensure that the public engages as little as possible in this debate.eric-stein2But I assure you, this is a debate that the American public should engage in, pronto.

Because behind the scenes, certain lobbyists are quietly but aggressively scurrying about, pushing hard for the passage of the CFPA in a power grab by the Executive Branch that would dwarf the Health Care Reform bill and the Patriot Act.  And with the passage of the proposed CFPA, one man in particular with a history tied to some of the deepest tentacles in the financial crisis – and to the Community Reinvestment Act changes of 1995 – would gain the power to selectively manipulate the entire landscape of the financial, small business and housing markets.

Last week, we reintroduced you to an early trigger in the financial crisis, with good reason. In “Death by Senator: As Financial Reform Looms, We Revisit IndyMac,” we revisited the role that Senator Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) very public letter played in the fall of one financial institution.  As I ended that piece, I teased that there was more to the story that would soon follow.

So, let’s pick up from June 30, 2008.

Merely days after the now infamous Schumer letter triggered a run on the bank that would total over $1.3 billion, this lengthy and scathing report was released to the public:

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[original post 4/5/2010]

schumer-indymac

Now that the health care bill has been passed into law, many Americans are asking, what’s next? Will it be Immigration Reform?  Will it be Cap and Trade in the Senate?

Take a cue from the White House’s recent announcement to use TARP funds to expand the housing aid program, which will also enable some homeowners to refinance their current private-lender mortgages through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) instead.  And if you’ve followed some of my SEIU posts in recent months, you know very well that Financial Reform has been number two on their list.

Just days ago, the Senate Banking Committee approved Senator Chris Dodd’s (D-CT)  financial reform proposal, the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010.  Behind the scenes, Dodd is said to have been working with House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) to negotiate a final version of the bill that the House will approve.  Just two weeks before it passed the Health Care bill last December, the House passed H.R.4173, the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009.  While Dodd’s bill is viewed as less stringent than the House bill, both include a controversial stand-alone Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA).  If these next several weeks of closed-door negotiations are successful, word on The Hill is that we could see financial reform enacted by Memorial Day.

The proposed legislation, most specifically the CFPA, extends far beyond Wall Street; it will expand government even further and give it unprecedented powers like never before.  And with more government power comes the potential for abuse.

Let’s be reminded, for example, of what Senator Chuck Schumer did to one financial institution in 2008.

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