Reporting Bob Brill
LOS ANGELES (KNX 1070/AP) — Two Southern California congressmen reportedly got discounted loans from Countrywide Financial Corp, but deny they even knew the discounts existed.
The Wall Street Journal reported that four congressmen in all received the discounts from the now-defunct lender.
Republican Congressman Howard Buck McKeon, a representative from Santa Clarita said he didn’t know of the lender’s VIP discount program. An aide for McKeon says he “was shocked to hear that his loan had been given a FOA designation by Countrywide 13 years ago because he had no knowledge that this had happened.”
Both McKeon and retiring Simi Valley Congressman Elton Gallegly are named as “Friends of Angelo [Mozilo]” as the program is dubbed. Gallegly also denies knowing about a VIP discount program.
Mozilo was the chairman of the company who was forced to pay nearly $70 million to settle with the Securities and Exchange Commission over toxic loans. Mozilo, however, was not charged with any wrongdoing.
As lawmakers, McKeon and Gallegly are prohibited from receiving special treatment. None of the lawmakers has been accused by an ethics panel or any Congressional committees of any wrongdoing. And they may never be if they convince investigators that they had no knowledge of the discounts.
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