Publish date:

Pols Got the Mozilo 'V.I.P.' Deal

Current and former political insiders received preferred mortgage rates from Countrywide, according to a report.
Author:

Angelo Mozilo, the infamous former CEO of Countrywide Financial (CFC) , has made headlines, again.

Mozilo might have bought influence with elected officials, lobbyists, and Washington insiders by offering them preferred mortgage rates, according to a report released Thursday. These "V.I.P." customers were told that Mozilo priced the loans himself. It remains unknown yet if anything illegal occurred, or how favorable the rates really were.

The report surfaced in a

Portfolio.com

exclusive

Thursday. Two prominent elected officials' names appeared in the report, including Sen. Chris Dodd (D., Conn.) and Sen. Kent Conrad (D., N.D.) the respective chairmen of the Senate Banking Committee and the Budget Committee. Dodd's staff will respond to the allegations next week in a press release.

Other prominent recipients include former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson, who received the mortgage while at HUD. Two former Clinton officials also made the list: former U.N. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke and former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala.

Mozilo has made numerous political contributions while CEO of Countrywide.

TheStreet Recommends

Portfolio

mentioned that he gave more than $20,000 to Dodd's Senate campaigns since 1997. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, he wrote checks in the 2008 presidential primaries to three Republicans: Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and John McCain. He also donated money to Gov. Bill Richardson (D., N.M.).

The VIP loans first made news early in the week. Sen. Barack Obama (D., Ill.) came under fire (see the

Five Dumbest Things on Wall Street

for more on the matter) for having former

Fannie Mae

CEO Jim Johnson run his vice-presidential candidate search team. Even though Johnson didn't hold a paid campaign position, his role as a lobbyist and the news that he'd received a V.I.P. Countrywide mortgage put pressure on Obama's campaign. Johnson resigned from his role Thursday.