McKeon Ethics Probe Ongoing

The action of Congressman Buck McKeon is now under review by the House Ethics Committee, the Sentinel has learned.
Following revelations that McKeon  received a discounted mortgage for his personal residence from the former Countrywide Financial Group, the House panel took up the matter.
“Congressman McKeon appears to have obtained a significant discount on his VIP loan as a direct result of personal intervention by [then-] Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo,” Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., ranking member of the House oversight panel, wrote in a letter released last month.
The House Ethics Committee has been asked to look into the matter and determine whether the loan amounted to an improper gift.
Countrywide Financial has been at the epicenter of the subprime mortgage crisis. In June 2009, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged Angelo Mozilo with insider trading and securities fraud. Since that time information has surfaced showing that large numbers of influential business executives and government officials received so-called “VIP” or “Friends of Angelo” loans from the mortgage lender,  in which loans were granted at lower rates than were available to the public.
In reaction to the House Ethics Committee’s action, McKeon told the Sentinel,  “I remain committed to transparency on this matter. I too want to get to the bottom of what Countrywide did to my loan 13 years ago. I chose a life of public service and ran for Congress because I believe that elected officials must live by the same rules as the people we serve.   That is why I was shocked and angered to learn that a loan I took out over a decade ago was supposedly given a special designation that I knew nothing about.  Countrywide’s actions are inconsistent with my principles, with my record, and with the expectations of the people of the 25th District.”
Of note with regard to McKeon and his political circumstance is that in January 2011, his California Republican House colleague Elton Gallegly was reported to have received a “Friends of Angelo” loan. Gallegly is also under investigation by the House Ethics Committee.  Gallegly, who has been in Congress since 1987, denied knowing that he was part of Countrywide Financial’s special loan program, but last month announced he would not seek reelection.
McKeon’s 25th Congressional District spans from Antelope Valley to the Nevada border, and includes parts of San Bernardino County, including Victorville and Barstow.  The district also runs through the Santa Clarita Valley, and  Inyo and  Mono counties.

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