No Sanctions in ‘Friends of Angelo’ ProbeFriday, December 28, 2012
The House Ethics Committee has ended its investigation without taking action on alleged favored treatment by the former Countrywide Financial Corp. to House members.
After Countrywide was taken over out of bankruptcy by Bank of America in 2008 after the collapse of the subprime mortgage market, it was alleged that the Calabasas company had made hundreds of discount loans to government officials, legislators and their staffs in an apparent effort to buy influence. The program was dubbed “Friends of Angelo,” after former chief executive Angelo Mozilo, who has denied any impropriety.
The Ethics Committee said Thursday that nearly all the allegations of favored treatment involved loans approved so long ago that they fell outside the panel's jurisdiction. House rules preclude sanctions for old violations.
Even so, the committee found no violations among House members, noting that most lawmakers had not been aware they were in the VIP unit. The committee’s report did criticize certain unidentified House staff members, who apparently actively solicited Countrywide lobbyists for assistance with their loans.