But even while it is maddeningly silent on who was involved in the Countrywide scandal, the House Ethics Committee report does uncover exactly how corrupt the program was. “Countrywide partnered with Fannie Mae in a strategic business alliance that also included joint lobbying efforts,” it concludes. “Countrywide lobbyists and CEO Angelo Mozilo used discounted loans as a tool to ingratiate itself with policymakers in an effort to benefit the company’s business interests,” Issa said in a release about the report. As Politico notes, the report discloses that at least four Capitol Hill staffers in critical positions for Countrywide, including aides on the House Financial Services and Senate Banking panels, obtained VIP loans from the firm. These loans started as early as 1998.
Left unsaid is that Countrywide, Fannie, and Freddie were also able to kill attempts to rein in the subprime-mortgage market while it was pumping up the unsustainable housing bubble, starting in the late 1990s, and peaking between 2004 and 2006.
The Ethics Committee insists that some House members and staffers didn’t know they were receiving favorable treatment; the committee also suggests that the discounts these individuals obtained might have been equal to or less generous than the terms offered by other lenders. The entire culture of Congress was corrupted by the housing government- industrial complex, and the Ethics Committee report only skims over the surface of that scandal.