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Letters: Be fair to Buck

Posted: July 12, 2012 7:24 p.m.
Updated: July 12, 2012 7:24 p.m.
 

With the release of the Issa report investigating influence pedaling by Countrywide and members of Congress, it’s important to look closely at its findings, especially as they relate to our Representative Howard “Buck” McKeon.

His Democratic opponent, Dr. Lee C. Rogers, did a disservice to the readers of The Signal by misrepresenting the report’s findings in his commentary, “McKeon should pay back Countrywide gains” (July 9). Rogers portrays Buck’s vote to increase FHA loan limits as evidence of a nefarious act, and he reports findings not in evidence as fact.

In his “Joe Friday” approach to discover evidence of vote buying, Rogers tries to link Buck’s vote to increase the FHA loan limit to the approval of his 1998 home loan.

The reader might be led to think that Buck was the swing vote on this legislation, but with a little research, we discover that the final tally was notably bipartisan. HR 4914 was overwhelmingly approved — 419-14.

Dr. Rogers leads the reader to believe that Countrywide waived fees and “1 percent interest savings on the home mortgage.” Yes, an interoffice memo from one Countrywide employee to another published in the report indicates that Angelo Mozilo instructed, “Take off one point, no garbage fees, approve the loan and make it a no doc.”

However, there is no evidence in the report that this actually occurred and the McKeons received any discount or special underwriting consideration. In fact, an examination of the closing documents by a respected mortgage broker in January revealed that the closing documents reflected “the usual junk fees.”

The note rate of 6.75 percent was determined to be slightly higher than the national average of 6.49 percent at that time. The Issa report never suggests that the McKeons were aware of any inappropriate loan discount, and there is no suggestion of an ethics violation by our congressman. That is the fact, Rogers.

It is outrageous for Dr. Lee C. Rogers to call upon Buck McKeon to repay an illusory “gain” to the federal treasury for a loan that the McKeons fully repaid in 1992, six years before the TARP program was instituted. Unfortunately, the Rogers campaign is being defined by his continuous distortion of facts and raw political gamesmanship.

It is important that the results of the Issa report be disclosed accurately, and that all of us be fair to Buck McKeon.

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