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The Countrywide six

By John Bender
web posted June 16, 2008

The news that former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Alphonso Jackson was one of the sleaze bags who enriched themselves with sweat heart deals on mortgages from Countrywide Financial makes it a bipartisan scandal and eliminates the slim possibility that any of them will be brought to justice. 

The ruling political class doesn't like to bring its members to justice. But if one political party can gain political advantage by going after a few members of the political class who happen to be in the other party, they will grab that opportunity.

Until it was discovered that Jackson, a Republican who resigned from his post as Secretary of H.U.D to avoid an investigation of his alleged corruption, was one of the political hacks who took below market loans from the corrupt corporation, the Countrywide scandal was a strictly Democrat scandal.  As such it had the potential to provide Republicans a chance to make it an issue this election year.  That potential is gone now.

Until it was revealed that Jackson was also involved those exposed in reports of the scandal were:

  • Jim Johnson former chief of Fannie Mae, Obama advisor, and longtime Democratic Party power broker.
  • Franklin Delano Raines, the former chairman and chief executive officer of Fannie Mae who served as White House budget director under President Bill Clinton, and "retired" from Fannie Mae to halt a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into accounting irregularities. He was accused by The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO), the regulating body of Fannie Mae, of abetting widespread accounting errors, which included the shifting of losses so senior executives, such as himself, could earn large bonuses.
  • Donna Shalala, former Secretary of Health and Human Services, who in 1993, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, along with several other groups, filed a lawsuit against Donna Shalala over closed-door meetings related to the HillaryCare socialized health care plan, and since leaving the administration was embroiled in scandals at the University of Florida due to her extravagant lifestyle at the University's expense.
  • Richard Holbrooke, former U.N. ambassador and assistant Secretary of State, who as U.N. Ambassador ignored whistleblower reports about the infamous Oil-for-Food scandals
    * Senator Christopher Dodd – D. Connecticut, who oversees the U.S. mortgage industry as chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.
  • Gaylord Kent Conrad – D. North Dakota, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee and one of the first politicians to support Obama over Hillary.

However, like other bipartisan scandals of the past, this scandal will now go nowhere. And none of the slime balls will be brought to justice.  Like the Keating Five scandal, the House bank scandal, and so many others, everyone will walk away from this with no real consequence for their actions.  There is no political advantage for either of the ruling parties so there is no appetite to harm a member of the ruling political class.

The political hacks who make up the Countrywide Six, like the political hacks who made up the Keating Five, will all walk away laughing at their subjects who are footing the bill for the mortgage crisis like they did for the S&L meltdown.

Things aren't supposed to be this way in America.  This wasn't what the Founding Fathers intended, but this is what we've degenerated to and there's no sign it will get any better any time soon.  It certainly will not improve when we elect either John McCain or Barack Obama in November. ESR

John Bender is a freelance writer living in Dallas.  He is a former staff writer for Ether Zone and his columns have appeared in various print and Internet publications.


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