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Congressional Reform

by Astronuc
Tags: congressional, reform
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Vanadium 50
#19
May22-08, 11:52 AM
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Hey, the Democrats promised "a different way of doing business in Washington". This is different all right!
Astronuc
#20
Jun14-08, 11:02 AM
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Senators Caught in Mortgage Fallout
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/14/wa...n/14loans.html
By LESLIE WAYNE, NY Times
When Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota wanted a mortgage for his beach house, he turned to a Washington insider, James A. Johnson, former head of Fannie Mae, the government mortgage giant, who then put the senator in touch with Angelo Mozilo, chief executive of the mortgage lender Countrywide Financial.

The ensuing telephone call between Mr. Conrad and Mr. Mozilo led to two Countrywide mortgages, including one in which the company bent its rules to give Mr. Conrad a loan.

Those loans are now among a number of Countrywide mortgages at the center of an examination into whether a number of top politicians in Washington — members of Congress, the cabinet and celebrated advisers — received favorable deals from a company whose lax lending standards are at the center of the subprime mortgage crisis.

This week, Mr. Johnson, whom Mr. Conrad turned to for help, was forced to step down as head of Senator Barack Obama’s vice-presidential selection committee in part over Countrywide home mortgage loans that Mr. Johnson had received at favorable rates.

At the center of the scrutiny is Countrywide’s “V.I.P.” program, also known as the “Friend of Angelo” program, in which Countrywide appeared to bend its lending rules for prominent people. Now, many of those receiving Countrywide home mortgages say they were not aware the company might have been working behind the scenes to give them favorable loan terms.

Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee and a leader in the effort to help homeowners caught in the mortgage crisis, denied on Friday that he received preferential treatment for his two Countrywide loans. A spokesman for Mr. Dodd, Bryan DeAngelis, said that neither Mr. Dodd nor his wife had spoken to Mr. Mozilo about their loans.

“As a United States senator, I would never ask or expect to be treated differently than anyone else refinancing their home,” Mr. Dodd said in a statement. “This suggestion is outrageous and contrary to my entire career in public service. Just like millions of other Americans, we shopped around and received competitive rates.”

But Portfolio.com, the Web site of the business magazine Portfolio, cited internal documents indicating that Countrywide had reduced the rate on the mortgage of Mr. Dodd’s Washington town house by three-eighths of a point, saving him $2,000 a year in interest payments, and reduced the rate on a Connecticut house by a quarter point, saving $17,000 over the life of the loan.

For Mr. Dodd, who is said to be on a short list for vice president for Mr. Obama, the Countrywide mortgages may prove to be a problem in light of Mr. Obama’s ejection Mr. Johnson from his campaign over a similar issue.

“Obama has set such high standards on ethics,” said James Thurber, director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University in Washington. “If indeed Chris Dodd got below-market loans, it could be a disqualifier for someone being considered for an important appointment.”

. . . .
Statement from Senator Kent Conrad on Portfolio.com Article
http://conrad.senate.gov/pressroom/r...cfm?id=299149&

It's the part about "he [Conrad] turned to a Washington insider, James A. Johnson, former head of Fannie Mae, the government mortgage giant, who then put the senator in touch with Angelo Mozilo, chief executive of the mortgage lender Countrywide Financial." and the "ensuing telephone call between Mr. Conrad and Mr. Mozilo," which led to "two Countrywide mortgages, including one in which the company bent its rules to give Mr. Conrad a loan."

How many average Americans get in touch with the CEO of a major financial institution regarding a personal mortgage? Geeeezzzz!!!!!

Politicians in the administration and Congress seem so out of touch with the reality of ordinary folks.
chemisttree
#21
Jun16-08, 12:04 PM
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Quote Quote by Astronuc View Post
Politicians in the administration and Congress seem so out of touch with the reality of ordinary folks.
The understatement of the season!
Astronuc
#22
Jun16-08, 02:02 PM
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Quote Quote by chemisttree View Post
The understatement of the season!
Right up there with - "We're from the government. We're here to help you." And they say that with a straight face.


Congressional reform is necessary.

It's time for the Big Stick!
Astronuc
#23
Jul29-08, 12:27 PM
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SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, the longest serving U.S. Republican senator, was indicted Tuesday on seven counts of making false statements to federal investigators, according to media reports. The Justice Department is expected to announce the charges shortly.
Sen. Ted Stevens indicted on 7 criminal counts

Stevens, 84, has been dogged by a federal investigation into whether he pushed for fishing legislation that also benefited his son, an Alaska lobbyist.

From May 1999 to August 2007, prosecutors said Stevens concealed "his continuing receipt of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of things of value from a private corporation."
. . . .
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080729/...ens_indictment
BobG
#24
Jul29-08, 03:28 PM
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Mixed opinions on what this means. If Vic Vickers or David Cuddy beats Stevens in the Republican primary, then Republicans should hold onto the seat. If Stevens wins the primary, Dems are expected to pick up the seat.

Never good to have an opponent from the same party throw $410,000 worth of TV spots highlighting a Senator's corruption. As unlikely as coming from a 70 point deficit in the polls is, that much money in a small market is at least a boost for Steven's other opponents, both Rep and Dem.

Stevens should pull out of the race (and maybe start working on his plea bargain?). Considering 2 VECO employees and 3 state legislators have already been convicted in the same scandal, I doubt too many voters would bet on his being found innocent.
Astronuc
#25
Mar19-09, 07:22 PM
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I heard a presentation (recored Feb 10, 2009) by former congressman Bob Edgar who is now president and CEO of Common Cause. It was interesting, and unfortunately, I haven't found any transcripts. It is worthwhile listen to his ideas.

Helping Restore the Core Values of American Democracy
http://www.commonwealthclub.org/audi...r-complete.ram

Bob Edgar bio

I think the US could use a viable third party, or viable Independent candidates.
ThomasT
#26
Mar20-09, 05:27 AM
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Quote Quote by Astronuc View Post
I think the US could use a viable third party, or viable Independent candidates.
I think the status quo has a monopoly on viability.
Astronuc
#27
Mar20-09, 06:55 PM
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Dodd's political stock tumbles in Connecticut
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090320/...dd_on_thin_ice

WASHINGTON – Democrats may want to start thinking about a bailout for Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, whose political stock has slipped amid the financial meltdown.

As a five-term Democrat who blew out his last two opponents by 2-1 margins in a blue state that President Barack Obama won handily, Dodd, D-Conn., should be cruising to re-election in 2010. Instead, he's feeling heat from a Republican challenger eager to make him a poster boy for the tumult in the housing and financial markets.

A recent poll showed former Rep. Rob Simmons running about even with Dodd, a former national Democratic Party chairman.

As head of the banking panel, Dodd, 64, has become a convenient target for voter anger over the economic crisis.

"The fact that we have been beaten up, beaten around the head for the last eight or nine months on a regular basis has contributed to it as well," Dodd said.

Some of the worst blows came amid the furor over $165 million in bonuses American International Group Inc. paid some of its employees while receiving billions of dollars in federal bailout money. After first denying it, Dodd admitted he agreed to a request by Treasury Department officials to dilute an executive bonus restriction in the big economic stimulus bill that Congress passed last month. The change to Dodd's amendment allowed AIG to hand out the bonuses and sparked a blame game between Dodd and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

Dodd was guarded Thursday when asked about Geithner.

"This is obviously a matter that obviously should have been dealt with differently, but we are where we are," he said.

Republicans branded Dodd's reversal "astonishing and alarming" and fingered Dodd as the top recipient of campaign cash from AIG employees over the years.

The GOP is slamming Dodd, claiming he is cozying up to Wall Street insiders, raking in bundles of their campaign cash, shirking his banking panel duties and running for president as the economic crisis erupted in 2007.

He's also under investigation by a Senate ethics panel for mortgages he got from Countrywide Financial Corp., the big lending company at the center of the mortgage crisis.

. . . .
I expect he'll get challenged in the primary when he's up next. I think it's time he retires or resigns.
WhoWee
#28
Mar20-09, 10:27 PM
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When the debate in Congress turns to a Bill of Attainder...it's time to start publishing the Constitution in a few times per week in USA Today.
Astronuc
#29
Jun19-09, 09:17 AM
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Where's the change?

Obama’s Pledge on Donations Faces Reality
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/19/us...s/19obama.html

WASHINGTON — When President Obama arrived at the Mandarin Oriental hotel for a fund-raising reception on Thursday night, the new White House rules of political purity were in order: no lobbyists allowed.
OK.

But at the same downtown hotel on Friday morning, registered lobbyists have not only been invited to attend an issues conference with Democratic leaders, but they have also been asked to come with a $5,000 check in hand if they want to stay in good favor with the party’s House and Senate re-election committees.

The practicality of Mr. Obama’s pledge to change the ways of Washington is colliding once more with the reality of how money, influence and governance interact here. He repeatedly declared while campaigning last year that he would “not take a dime” from lobbyists or political action committees.

So to follow through with that promise, Mr. Obama is simply leaving the room.

For the first time in eight years, Democrats have a president of their own to preside over their political fund-raising activities. And Mr. Obama’s rules have hardly stopped the bustling intersection of money and politics. Not only are members of Congress already engaged in their next races, but legislative battles over health care, energy and financial regulation have also put a premium on access and influence for many lobbyists and their clients.
. . . .
Hmmmm. ????
Gokul43201
#30
Jun19-09, 09:29 AM
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While Obama has some political sway over his party, he has no legal authority over any member of Congress. He can only legally control the influence of lobbyists over the White House. And he's doing that. Shutting down the influence of lobbying on Congress is a lot more tricky task.

Or to pose this as a question: how could a President attempt to curb the influence of lobbyists over Congress?
Astronuc
#31
Oct30-10, 07:37 AM
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In Nevada, It’s Hold Nose and Cast Vote
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/30/us.../30nevada.html

I think the deck is stack against us.

. . . .
The man said that he knew Mr. Reid, and that Mr. Reid was an idiot. So was his Republican opponent, Sharron Angle. In fact, said the man, . . . , he might very well choose a third option here in Nevada: the phantom candidate known as None of the Above.
. . . .


If that's not bad enough - As Reid Falters, Schumer Subtly Stands in the Wings
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/29/us...29schumer.html

Ugh!
Astronuc
#32
Oct31-10, 09:38 AM
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Pelosi, Among Others, Could Exit if Dems Lose House
http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/08599202821200

As Nancy Pelosi goes, so might a generation of her colleagues.
Sooner than later is preferable.
mugaliens
#33
Nov3-10, 11:49 PM
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Quote Quote by Gokul43201 View Post
Or to pose this as a question: how could a President attempt to curb the influence of lobbyists over Congress?
Good question!

A President can call for legislation to meet a need. SCOTUS recently ruled that corporations have the same rights as individual citizens when it comes to Congressional access. Given their often vast, deep pockets, corporate desires could easily eclipse the needs of private citizens. Ours is a government of, by, and for the people, not of, by, and for the corporation.

I submit if Obama was concerned about how to curb the influence of lobbyists over Congress, he would call for legislation or a Constitutional Amendment banning all lobbying except that conducted by private citizens.
mugaliens
#34
Nov3-10, 11:51 PM
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Quote Quote by Astronuc View Post
In Nevada, It’s Hold Nose and Cast Vote.
Perhaps Dennis Miller should run for office in 2012... :)
WhoWee
#35
Nov4-10, 06:36 AM
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Quote Quote by mugaliens View Post
Perhaps Dennis Miller should run for office in 2012... :)
Juan Williams is more popular.
ThomasT
#36
Nov9-10, 05:31 AM
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Quote Quote by mugaliens View Post
Good question!

A President can call for legislation to meet a need. SCOTUS recently ruled that corporations have the same rights as individual citizens when it comes to Congressional access. Given their often vast, deep pockets, corporate desires could easily eclipse the needs of private citizens. Ours is a government of, by, and for the people, not of, by, and for the corporation.

I submit if Obama was concerned about how to curb the influence of lobbyists over Congress, he would call for legislation or a Constitutional Amendment banning all lobbying except that conducted by private citizens.
Of course. The only conclusion is that Obama, like virtually every other politician, has been bought and paid for. He's a tool of Big Money. People can of course change this, but not if they keep voting for Republicans and Democrats.


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