Lawmakers Took Sweetheart Deals From Countrywide, Inquiry Finds

countrywide bribery
countrywide bribery

WASHINGTON -- Congressional investigators said Monday that four House members received VIP discounted loans from the former Countrywide Financial Corp., the lender whose subprime mortgages was largely responsible for the nation's foreclosure crisis.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, declined to name the four but wrote the House Ethics Committee that it should investigate the lawmakers.

Issa, in a letter dated Friday and released Monday, said there could be additional lawmakers who received discounted loans.

The most favored customers of Countrywide were known as "Friends of Angelo," who were given discounts in a VIP section under control of the company's CEO Angelo Mozilo. However, Issa said his investigators discovered that other sections of Countrywide also processed VIP loans to public officials and others in position to help the company.

Countrywide was taken over by Bank of America, which has given Issa's committee 100,000 documents in response to subpoenas.