Center for Public Integrity: Fraud Complaints Cloud Foreclosure Relief

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2016/07/18/fraud-complaints-cloud-foreclosure-relief/87103512/

 

n 2012, after a heart attack left him too ill to work and unable to make his mortgage payments on time, John M. Green turned to the Litvin Law Firm for help.

Green, according, in part, to records he provided to federal bankruptcy court, said he paid the firm about $8,000 over the next two years to negotiate better terms with the lender on his house in Baker, La. But he lost the home anyway, he says, because the Brooklyn, N.Y., law firm did little beyond taking his money.

“My experience was horrible,” said Green, 72, who is back at work part time as a schoolteacher. “They didn’t follow through with anything they said they were going to do.”

It’s not just former Litvin client Green who is aggrieved. The attorneys general of New York and Maryland have accused the firm of preying on other distressed homeowners by failing to deliver the legal firepower it promised.

People deeply in arrears on their mortgages wasted money they could ill afford to lose, while dozens lost their homes, Maryland officials charged. The case, filed in 2014, targets the firm and its founder, attorney Gennady Litvin. Both state proceedings are pending.

Litvin declined to comment for this story. In a June 2015 court filing, Litvin denied misleading anyone and said he had saved his clients more than $75 million, including reductions in future mortgage payments.

Since 2010, two years after the crash of the U.S. housing market, tens of thousands of strapped homeowners have alleged they were cheated by lawyers or marketers boasting ties to law firms, whom they trusted to renegotiate mortgage loans or stave off foreclosure actions, according to a Center for Public Integrity investigation.

The complaints are collected by a coalition of consumer and law enforcement groups organized by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which tracks companies and law firms that promise to “rescue” homeowners from foreclosure and mostly fail to deliver. The group has collected more than 46,000 written complaints from homeowners whose losses totaled more than $100 million — nearly two-thirds linked to alleged misconduct by lawyers or their associates. Minorities accounted for just over half of the complaints, and they tended to lose more money than whites. Hispanics lost the most, more than $4,200 each on average.

Many victims haven’t recovered much, if any, of their money. The Federal Trade Commission, which has the duty to protect consumers, and the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which oversees lenders and financial companies, have won more than $341 million in civil judgments against foreclosure rescue outlets including law firms since 2009. The agencies have collected less than 5% of that amount. The CFPB is drawing on a special “victim relief” fund to pay out about $23 million to victims of loan modification scams.

The sheer number of attorneys who have engaged in dubious foreclosure enterprises — the center’s research identified more than 1,000 nationwide — also has vexed state bar associations and courts that both license lawyers and run funds to compensate their victims.

071816-Foreclose-Fraud-0011071816-Foreclose-Fraud-0022

Bar groups say the schemes are clearly illegal, yet attorneys who help orchestrate them mostly escape serious discipline, the center found. Less than a third of California lawyers in these cases have been disbarred, under 20% in Florida, both hot spots of the activity. At least three dozen attorneys filed for bankruptcy protection to get out from under debts or orders to make restitution, court records show.

The California Bar’s client security fund has paid out nearly $16 million to compensate people who lost money to about 200 foreclosure lawyers.

The Florida Bar’s client security fund, which is more restrictive in compensating victims, has paid out about $400,000 since 2010 for mortgage-relief misconduct involving about 20 attorneys, according to the center’s analysis of the bar’s records.

False Fix

In 2009, in the depths of the recession, federal officials rolled out the Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP, hoping to keep millions of Americans from being forced from their homes. The voluntary program called on lenders to cut mortgage interest rates or loan balances through a negotiation process called “loan modification.”

How much HAMP has helped overextended homeowners is debatable. Of the 5.7 million households that applied for loan modifications between December 2009 and April 2015, nearly three-quarters were turned down, according to a report from the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP.

The high rate of HAMP rejections played into the hands of entrepreneurs who falsely guaranteed they could cut through red tape and renegotiate mortgage loans.

In one ad, a male announcer intones: “Attention homeowners. The government has increased pressure on lenders to prevent foreclosures. If you’re one of the millions behind on their payments, struggling to stay afloat and in danger of losing your home, call … for your free professional consultation.”

Some marketers have advised homeowners to quit making monthly mortgage payments while they worked on renegotiating their loans, which is bad legal advice, authorities said.

Others have convinced property owners that their mortgage debt would be forgiven because of past misdeeds by their lenders, an unlikely scenario.

Some have strongly implied or falsely claimed to be affiliated with the U.S. government, court cases show.

In 2010, the FTC issued the Mortgage Assistance Relief Services Rule to combat scammers. The rule barred companies from taking advance fees for foreclosure relief, which the government viewed as the primary trap for homeowners.

But when writing the rule, federal officials agreed with the American Bar Association and some state bar groups that lawyers should be exempted under certain conditions, which have proven difficult for authorities to monitor.

“We anticipated people would get scammed, but not to the level that actually happened,” said Rutledge Simmons, a lawyer and senior vice president at NeighborWorks America, a housing advocacy group.

State bar associations for years have warned members to steer clear of mortgage-modification deals in which they split fees with non-lawyers, or accepted referrals from telemarketers or other salespeople.

 

Story continued here.

 

The Reporter Who Saw it Coming

Featured Products and Services by The Garfield Firm

NEW! 2nd Edition Attorney Workbook,Treatise & Practice Manual – Pre-Order NOW for an up to $150 discount
LivingLies Membership – Get Discounts and Free Access to Experts
For Customer Service call 1-520-405-1688

Want to read more? Download entire introduction for the Attorney Workbook, Treatise & Practice Manual 2012 Ed – Sample

Pre-Order the new workbook today for up to a $150 savings, visit our store for more details. Act now, offer ends soon!

Editor’s Comment:

By Dean Starkman

Mike Hudson thought he was merely exposing injustice, but he also was unearthing the roots of a global financial meltdown.

Mike Hudson began reporting on the subprime mortgage business in the early 1990s when it was still a marginal, if ethically challenged, business. His work on the “poverty industry” (pawnshops, rent-to-own operators, check-cashing operations) led him to what were then known as “second-lien” mortgages. From his street-level perspective, he could see the abuses and asymmetries of the market in a way that the conventional business press could not. But because it ran mostly in small publications, his reporting was largely ignored. Hudson pursued the story nationally, via a muckraking book, Merchants of Misery (Common Courage Press, 1996); in a 10,000-word expose on Citigroup-as-subprime-factory, which won a Polk award in 2004 for the small alternative magazine Southern Exposure; and in a series on the subprime leader, Ameriquest, co-written as a freelancer, for the Los Angeles Times in 2005. He continued to pursue the subject as it metastasized into the trillion-dollar center of the Financial Crisis of 2008—briefly at The Wall Street Journal and now at the Center for Public Integrity. Hudson, 52, is the son of an ex-Marine and legendary local basketball coach. He started out on rural weeklies, covering championship tomatoes and large fish and such, even produced a cooking column. But as a reporter for The Roanoke Times he turned to muckraking and never looked back. CJR’s Dean Starkman interviewed Hudson in the spring of 2011.

Follow the ex-employees

The great thing about The Roanoke Times was that there was an emphasis on investigation but there was also an emphasis on storytelling and writing. And they would bring in lots of people like Roy Peter Clark and William Zinsser, the On Writing Well guy. The Providence Journal book, the How I Wrote the Story, was a bit of a Bible for me.

As I was doing a series on poverty in Roanoke, one of the local legal aid attorneys was like, “It’s not just the lack of money—it’s also what happens when they try to get out of poverty.” He said basically there are three ways out: they bought a house, so they got some equity; they bought a car so they could get some mobility; or they went back to school to get a better job. And in every case, he had example after example of folks, who because they were doing just that, had actually gotten deeper in poverty, trapped in unbelievable debt.

His clients often dealt with for-profit trade schools, truck driving schools that would close down; medical assistant’s schools that no one hired from; and again and again they’d be three, four, five, eight thousand dollars in debt, and unable to repay it, and then of course prevented from ever again going back to school because they couldn’t get another a student loan. So that got me thinking about what I came to know as the poverty industry.

I applied for an Alicia Patterson Fellowship and proposed doing stories on check-cashing outlets, pawn shops, second-mortgage lenders (they didn’t call themselves subprime in those days). This was ’91. We didn’t have access to the Internet, but I came across a wire story about something called the Boston “second-mortgage scandal,” and got somebody to send me a thick stack of clips. It was really impressive. The Boston Globe and other news organizations were taking on the lenders and the mortgage brokers, and the closing attorneys, and on and on.

I was trying to make the story not just local but national. I had some local cases involving Associates [First Capital Corp., then a unit of Ford Motor Corp.]. Basically, it turned out that Ford Motor Company, the old-line carmaker, was the biggest subprime lender in the country. The evidence was pretty clear that they were doing many of the same kinds of bait-and-switch salesmanship and, in some cases, pure fraud, that we later saw take over the mortgage market. I felt like this was a big story; this is the one! Later, investigations and Congressional hearings corroborated what I was finding in ’94, ’95, and ’96. And it seems so self-evident now, but I learned that finding ex-employees often gives you a window into what’s really going on with a company. The problem has always been finding them and getting them to talk.

I spent the better part of the ‘90s writing about the poverty industry and about predatory lending. As a reporter you don’t want to be defined by one subject. So I was actually working on a book about the history of racial integration in sports, interviewing old Negro-league baseball players. I was really trying to change a little bit of how I was moving forward career-wise. But it’s like the old mafia-movie line: every time I think I’m out, they pull me back in.

Subprime goes mainstream

In the fall of 2002, the Federal Trade Commission announced a big settlement with Citigroup, which had bought Associates, and at first I saw it as a positive development, like they had nailed the big bad actor. I’m doing a 1,000-word freelance thing, but of course as I started to report I started hearing from people who were saying that this settlement is basically giving them absolution, and allowed them to move forward with what was, by Citi standards, a pretty modest settlement. And the other thing that struck me was the media was treating this as though Citigroup was cleaning up this legacy problem, when Citi itself had its own problems. There had been a big magazine story about [Citigroup Chief Sanford I.] “Sandy” Weill. It was like “Sandy’s Comeback.” I saw this and said, ‘Whoa, this is an example of the mainstreaming of subprime.’

I pitched a story about how these settlements weren’t what they seemed, and got turned down a lot of places. Eventually I went to Southern Exposure and called the editor there, Gary Ashwill, and he said, “That’s a great story, we’ll put it on the cover.” And I said, “Well how much space can we have?” and he said, “How much do we need?” That was not something you heard in journalism in those days.

I interviewed 150 people, mostly borrowers, attorneys, experts, industry people, but the stuff that really moves the story are the former employees. Many of them had just gotten fired for complaining internally. They were upset about what had gone on—to some degree about how the company treated them, but usually very upset about how the company had pressured them and their co-workers to mistreat their customers.

As a result of the Citigroup stuff, I got a call from a filmmaker [James Scurlock] who was working on what eventually became Maxed Out, about credit cards and student loans and all that kind of stuff. And he asked if I could go visit, and in some cases revisit, some of the people I had interviewed and he would follow me with a camera. So I did sessions in rural Mississippi, Brooklyn and Queens, and Pittsburg. Again and again you would hear people talk about these bad loans they got. But also about stress. I remember a guy in Brooklyn, not too far from where I live now, who paused and said something along the lines of: ‘You know I’m not proud of this, but I have to say I really considered killing myself.’ Again and again people talked about how bad they felt about having gotten into these situations. It was powerful and eye-opening. They didn’t understand, in many cases, that they’d been taken in by very skillful salesmen who manipulated them into taking out loans that were bad for them.

If one person tells you that story, you say okay, well maybe it’s true, but you don’t know. But you’ve got a woman in San Francisco saying, “I was lied to and here’s how they lied to me,” and then you’ve got a loan officer for the same company in suburban Kansas saying, “This is what we did to people.” And then you have another loan officer in Florida and another borrower in another state. You start to see the pattern.

People always want some great statistic [proving systemic fraud], but it’s really, really hard to do that. And statistics data doesn’t always tell us what happened. If you looked at some of the big numbers during the mortgage boom, it would look like everything was fine because of the fact that they refinanced people over and over again. So essentially a lot of what was happening was very Ponzi-like—pushing down the road the problems and hiding what was going on. But I was not talking to analysts. I was not talking to high-level corporate executives. I was not talking to experts. I was talking to the lowest level people in the industry— loan officers, branch managers. I was talking to borrowers. And I was doing it across the country and doing it in large numbers. And when you actually did the shoe-leather reporting, you came up with a very different picture than the PR spin you were getting at the high level.

One day Rich Lord [who had just published the muckraking book, American Nightmare: Predatory Lending and the Foreclosure of the American Dream, Common Courage Press, 2004) and I went to his house. We were sitting in his study. Rich had spent a lot of time writing about Household [International, parent of Household Finance], and I had spent a lot of time writing about Citigroup. Household had been number one in subprime, and then CitiFinancial/Citigroup was number one. This was in the fall of 2004. We asked, well, who’s next? Rich suggested Ameriquest.

I went back home to Roanoke and got on the PACER—computerized court records—system and started looking up Ameriquest cases, and found lots of borrower suits and ex-employee suits. There was one in particular, which basically said that the guy had been fired because he had complained that Ameriquest business ethics were terrible. I just found the guy in the Kansas City phone book and called him up, and he told me a really compelling story. One of the things that really stuck out is, he said to me, “Have you ever seen the movie Boiler Room [2000, about an unethical pump-and-dump brokerage firm]?”

By the time I had roughly ten former employees, most of them willing to be on the record, I thought: this is a really good story, this is important. In a sense I feel like I helped them become whistleblowers because they had no idea how to blow the whistle or what to do. And Ameriquest at that point was on its way to being the largest subprime lender. So, I started trying to pitch the story. While I had a full-time gig at the Roanoke Times, for me the most important thing was finding the right place to place it.

The Los Angeles Times liked the story and teamed me with Scott Reckard, and we worked through much of the fall of 2004 and early 2005. We had thirty or so former employees, almost all of them basically saying that they had seen improper, illegal, fraudulent practices, some of whom acknowledged that they’d done it themselves: bait-and-switch salesmanship, inflating people’s incomes on their loan applications, and inflating appraisals. Or they were cutting and pasting W2s or faking a tax return. It was called the “art department”—blatant forgery, doctoring the documents. You know, it was pretty eye-opening stuff. One of the best details was that many people said they showed Boiler Room—as a training tape! And the other important thing about the story was that Ameriquest was being held up by politicians, and even by the media, as the gold standard—the company cleaning up the industry, reversing age-old bad practices in this market. To me, theirs was partly a story of the triumph of public relations.

Leaving Roanoke

I’d been in Roanoke almost 20 years as a reporter, and so, what’s the next step? I resigned from the Roanoke Times and for most of 2005 I was freelancing fulltime. I made virtually no money that year, but by working on the Ameriquest story, it helped me move to the next thing. I interviewed with The Wall Street Journal [and was hired to cover the bond market]. Of course I came in pitching mortgage-backed securities as a great story. I could have said it with more urgency in the proposal, but I didn’t want to come off as like an advocate, or half-cocked.

Daily bond market coverage is their bread-and-butter, and it’s something that needs to be done. And I tried to do the best I could on it. But I definitely felt a little bit like a point guard playing small forward. I was doing what I could for the team but I was not playing in a position where my talents and my skills were being used to the highest.

I wanted to do a documentary. I wanted to do a book [which would become The Monster: How a Gang of Predatory Lenders and Wall Street Bankers Fleeced America—and Spawned a Global Crisis, Times Books, 2010]. I felt like I had a lot of information, a lot of stuff that needed to be told, and an understanding that many other reporters didn’t have. And I could see a lot of the writing focused on deadbeat borrowers lying about their income, rather than how things were really happening.

Through my reporting I knew two things: I knew that there were a lot of predatory and fraudulent practices throughout the subprime industry. It wasn’t isolated pockets, it wasn’t rogue lenders, it wasn’t rogue employees. It was really endemic. And I also knew that Wall Street played a big role in this, and that Wall Street was driving or condoning and/or profiting from a lot of these practices. I understood that, basically, the subprime lenders, like Ameriquest and even like Countrywide, were really just creatures of Wall Street. Wall Street loaned these companies money; they then made loans; they off-loaded the loans to Wall Street; Wall Street then sold them [as securities to investors]. And it was just this magic circle of cash flowing. The one thing I didn’t understand was all the fancy financial alchemy—the derivatives, the swaps, that were added on to put them on steroids.

It’s clear that people inside a company, one or two or three people, could commit fraud and get away with it, on occasion, despite the best efforts of a company. But I don’t think it can happen in a widespread way when a company has basic compliance systems in place. The best way to connect the dots from the sleazy practices on the ground to people at high levels was to say, okay, they did have these compliance people in place; they had fraud investigators, loan underwriters, and compliance officers. Did they do their jobs? And if they did, what happened to them?

In late 2010, at the Center for Public Integrity, I got a tip about a whistleblower case involving someone who worked at a high level at Countrywide. This is Eileen Foster, who had been an executive vice president, the top fraud investigator at Countrywide. She was claiming before OSHA that she was fired for reporting widespread fraud, but also for trying to protect other whistleblowers within the company who were also reporting fraud at the branch level and at the regional level, all over the country. The interesting thing is that no one in the government had ever contacted her! [This became “Countrywide Protected Fraudsters by Silencing Whistleblowers, say Former Employees,” September 22 and 23, 2011, one of CPI’s best-read stories of the year; 60 Minutes followed with its own interview of Foster, in a segment called, “Prosecuting Wall Street,” December 14, 2011.] It was very exciting. We worked really hard to do follow-up stories. I did about eight stories afterward, many about General Electric, a big player in the subprime world. We found eight former mortgage unit employees who had tried to warn about abuses and whom management had shunted aside.

I just feel like there needs to be more investigative reporting in the mix, and especially more investigative reporting—of problems that are going on now, rather than post-mortems or tick-tocks about financial disasters or crashes or bankruptcies that have already happened.

And that’s hard to do. It takes a real commitment from a news organization, and it can be a high-wire thing because you’re working on these stories for a long time, and market players you’re writing about yell and scream and do some real pushback. But there needs to be more of the sort of early warning journalism. It’s part of the big tent, what a newspaper is.

GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS NEGOTIATING (SELL-OUT!) WITH BANKS AND TAKING POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS SIMULTANEOUSLY

MOST POPULAR ARTICLES

COMBO Title and Securitization Search, Report, Documents, Analysis & Commentary GET COMBO TITLE AND SECURITIZATION ANALYSIS – CLICK HERE

SELL-OUT!

EDITOR’S COMMENT: WHAT ARE THEY NEGOTIATING ABOUT AND WITH WHOM ARE THEY NEGOTIATING? This is theater in the most absurd. Our government is negotiating with the very people who have demonstrated that they must fabricate and forge documents in order to establish their authority to do anything. Even in hostage negotiations we don’t give as much as we are giving to the servicers. They have no authority.

By definition they don’t own the obligation which means the obligation of the borrower is not owed to them. They are not the authorized agent of the real owner of the obligation until the real owner is identified and says they give authority to the agent to negotiate on their behalf.

Those documents don’t exist because those facts don’t exist. The investors are not going to give the servicers anything. If they were going to do that it would have happened en masse and avoided lots of paperwork problems for the banks. If it were not for political contributions, thousands of people would be headed for jail cells.

Instead we are negotiating away the future of America — for what? All homeowners are affected by these negotiations because when the so called honest Joe Homeowner goes to sell his home he is going to be hopping mad that not only can’t he deliver marketable title, he now has nobody to sue because the government sold him out. AND he still can’t sell his house because there is no way to clear up title.

These negotiations are a farce because down the road, they will be meaningless except that they will have added time to the already corrupted title registries across the country.

Mortgage servicers spend millions on political contributions

Banks under scrutiny as housing crisis festers

Posted Aug 8, 2011, 2:55 pm

Michael Hudson & Aaron Mehta Center for Public Integrity

As the financial markets roil, one of the critical factors weighing down the U.S. economy is the flood of home foreclosures. Thursday’s crash underscores how difficult it will be for the economy to make significant strides while the housing market is still in tatters.

The pace of the housing market recovery may depend in part on the outcome of intense negotiations underway among state and federal authorities and the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers.

Government officials are negotiating with the firms — Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Citigroup, Wells Fargo & Co. and Ally Financial Inc. — over allegations of widespread abuses in the foreclosure process. State attorneys general around the country have been investigating evidence that the big banks used falsified documentation to process foreclosures.

Four of the five companies under scrutiny—Bank of America, JP Morgan, Wells Fargo and Citigroup — are major donors for state and federal political campaigns. Between them, they have donated at least $8 million since the start of 2009 to candidates, party committees and other political action committees, according to an iWatch News analysis of campaign finance data.

(Ally Financial hasn’t given money during that period to campaigns under its current name or is previous name, General Motors Acceptance Corp., or GMAC).

The fate of foreclosure negotiations could go a long way toward determining where the housing market will go in the next few years.

Normally, the housing market plays a leading role in any economic recovery. But that hasn’t been the case in the aftermath of the U.S. financial crisis of 2008.

“It’s has been a negative factor in this recovery — or lack of recovery,” housing economist and consultant Michael Carliner said.

Generally, when interest rates go down, that spurs the mortgage and housing markets and helps move the economy in the right direction. But that hasn’t happened this time around, said Carliner, a former economist for the National Association of Home Builders. “We have lowest mortgage rates since the early 1950s and it’s not doing anything,” he said.

Interest rates on 30-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 4.39 percent for the week ending Aug. 4, according to a survey by mortgage giant Freddie Mac.

What’s holding back the housing market, Carliner said, is a glut of available homes for sale, due in part to overbuilding during the housing boom and to continuing foreclosure woes. An “excess inventory” of perhaps 2 million homes is making it hard for the housing market to get going again, he said.

The inventory of foreclosures continues to grow. In June, one out of every 583 housing units in the United States received a foreclosure notice, according to data provider Realty Trac. The numbers are even worse in the hardest hit markets, where housing prices climbed the fastest during the housing boom and fell the most when the housing crash came. In Nevada, one out of every 114 housing units was the subject of a foreclosure filing in June.

Investigations and negotiations over allegations of fraudulent foreclosure practices by big banks have helped slow down the foreclosure process, making it harder for the market to work through defaults and readjust, Carliner said.

He would like to see a deal between government officials and mortgage servicers that would pave the way to swifter foreclosures that would help put the foreclosure problem in the past. “If people haven’t paid their mortgages in two years, they shouldn’t be able to keep their house,” Carliner said.

Not everyone agrees.

Ira Rheingold, executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, a consumer attorneys group, argues that any national settlement should be about keeping people in their homes. He wants a settlement that would require banks to reduce the amount of mortgage debt held by distressed homeowners.

Reducing their payments and overall debts would help keep them in their homes and reduce the number of foreclosures, he said. It would also provide a measure of justice, he said, for homeowners who were defrauded via bait-and-switch salesmanship, falsified documentation and other predatory tactics that were common during the mortgage frenzy of the past decade.

Rheingold acknowledges, though, that extracting large concessions from big banks will be a “tough slog.”

Concerned about keeping quality reporting alive in Tucson?
A metro area of nearly 1 million deserves a vital & sustainable source of news that’s independent and locally run.
The banks have high-powered legal talent and lobbyists on their side, and four of the top five mortgage services have given generously to state and federal political campaigns, according to an iWatch News analysis of election data provided by the subscription-only CQMoneyLine. 

  • Since the start of 2009, Bank of America has donated at least $3.2 million to candidates, party committees and other PACs. Among the top recipients was Rep. Jeb Hensarling (at least $17,500), a Texas Republican who is vice chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. Another Texan Republican, Randy Neugebauer , received at least $16,000 from the financial giant. Neugebauer also serves on the Financial Services Committee, and chairs the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.
  • JPMorgan Chase has donated over $ 2.8 million to candidates, party committees and other PACs since the start of 2009. The firm has made donations to the Republican Governors Association (at least $50,000), the National Republican Senatorial Committee (at least $45,000) and the National Republican Congressional Committee (at least $45,000), the Democratic Governors Association (at least $25,000) and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (at least $15,000). The firm also donated at least $15,000 to the Blue Dog PAC, the fundraising arm of the Blue Dog Democrats who were vital to financial corporations when the Democrats controlled the House.
  • and ranking member on the financial services committee’s Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit.
  • Wells Fargo gave over $1 million to candidates, party committees and other PACs since the start of 2009. Wells Fargo has given at least $45,000 each to the NRCC and NRSC and at least $30,000 each to the DSCC and DCCC. It also donated at least $17,000 to Rep. Ed Royce , a California Republican who serves on the Financial Services committee. Another top recipient was Democrat Carolyn Maloney of New York, the vice chair of the Joint Economic Committee
  • Citigroup has given $850,000 to candidates, party committees and other PACs since the start of 2009. Among its top individual recipients is Democrat Gregory Meeks of New York. Meeks, who sits on the House Committee on Financial Services, has received at least $10,000 from Citi. Another is Ohio Republican Rep. Pat Tiberi (at least $15,000), a member of the powerful Ways and Means committee. Tiberi is currently the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Select Revenue, which has jurisdiction over federal tax policy.

Related stories

More by Michael Hudson

%d bloggers like this: