SEEKING TO refinance his Delaware beach house in 2004, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) did what any ordinary property owner in his position would have done. On the advice of his friend James A. Johnson, who also happened to be the former chief executive officer of mortgage giant Fannie Mae, he called Angelo Mozilo, the CEO of Countrywide Financial. Soon Mr. Conrad had a $1.07 million loan -- at a discount, personally ordered for him by Mr. Mozilo, of $10,500 in fees.I was wrong.
Apparently, the WaPo editorial staff thinks "ordinary property owners" own beach houses. And that "ordinary property owners" nonchalantly phone the CEO of the largest mortgage lender in the nation for loan advice.
And oh, yes, there's more. This is when I knew the Post wasn't joshing me. "It's worth figuring out exactly what is, and is not, wrong with this kind of help," the editorial said.
Yes, I'd say it's "worth figuring out." Especially because as Chair of the Senate Banking Committee who has jurisdiction over housing issues, Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd (Conn.), who received a $75,000 VIP Countrywide discount outside of the normal underwriting process on his home loans, is pushing a bill to require the government to buy up to $300 billion, yes, $300 BILLION, in bad loans---mostly from Countrywide!--at this very moment.
The WaPo doesn't make any mention of that little tidbit, though.
Conservative and liberal advocacy groups, like FreedomWorks and the Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, are calling for a Senate Ethics investigation. This morning on Fox & Friends I suggested Dodd also recuse himself from his chairmanship of the banking committee until the investigation is over and that it would be unwise for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to call Dodd's $300 billion bill for a vote in this environment.
I have a forthcoming video news package for our homepage about this mess that should be up late this morning/early afternoon.