George Graham

Investigate Congress Instead of Petraeus

So General Petraeus had an affair. Shame on him. But, the way I see it, that’s for his wife and her lawyers to investigate, not the FBI.  Assuming the FBI has limited resources, I can think of several more pressing abuses that cry out for investigation. And Congress is at the top of my list.

The hypocritical scalawags in Congress have a lot of nerve yapping about Benghazi and General Petraeus when we still don’t know what happened to the $700 billion they gave those big banks with no strings attached. Who exactly is Angelo? For that matter, who is Hank Paulson? What is Goldman Sachs? Really?

These questions – and a host of others – came to mind as I watched Michael Moore’s “Capitalism: A Love Story” on Current TV last night.

So I Googled “Friends of Angelo” this morning and came up with reports that several members of Congress were among “celebrities” who received special rates on their home loans as “friends” of Countrywide Financial CEO Angelo Mozilo.

This brought back painful memories… The embarrassing implication of Chris Dodd, for example, a  senator for whom I had the highest regard. According to an ABC News report in June 2008:

Senator Dodd reportedly received two loans in 2003 through the program, borrowing $506,000 and $275,042 to refinance homes in Washington and East Haddam, Connecticut. Countrywide waived $2,000 on the first loan and $700 on the second…

If Chris Dodd was on the take, whom could I trust? Not many members of Congress, obviously. Not former Fannie Mae CEO Michael Williams, who resigned after being embroiled in the scandal, and not several of his employees, who were listed among those receiving favorable mortgage rates.

You will remember the bursting of the housing bubble – created by fraudulent lenders, deregulation of the financial industry, sloppy and overgenerous Fannie Mae policies, misguided Fed practices, and Wall Street’s passion for exotic investments.

You might even be feeling its repercussions. Housing values plunged, foreclosures were – and still are – rampant, millions were laid off… The nation is still trying to stagger to its feet after the worst recession since the 1930s.

And around the world, economies are still reeling from the ripple effects of America’s financial meltdown.

Dodd is no longer in the Senate. He became a lobbyist for the Motion Picture Association of America. Mozilo reached a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, agreeing to pay $67.5 million in fines and accepting a lifetime ban from serving as an officer or director of any public company.

From time to time, I read that some big financial institution has agreed to pay the government a huge sum of money to escape criminal prosecution. And at least one documentary – “Inside Job” – has traced the intricate web of corruption that brought the world’s most vibrant economy to its knees.

But the whole story is still untold. And I suspect many criminals – in and out of Congress – have managed to elude justice in this, the biggest heist in America’s history.

The New York Times noted in a February 2011 article:

Hundreds of billions of dollars have been lost by investors while millions of borrowers have lost their homes. Few of the people who ran the institutions that contributed to the disaster have been found liable.

With a case like this still unsolved, how can the FBI find time to poke around in Paula Broadwell’s emails?

Photo at left shows Petraeus and Broadwell . At right, Senators Chris Dodd (left) and Kent Conrad (right) flank Countrywide Financial CEO Angelo Mozilo.

Click here for more on “Inside Job.”

Click here for more on “Capitalism: A Love Story.

About the author

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com