Every time you hear how “the Republicans are worse” you should think about this story from Moneynews:
A bill that homeowners advocates warn will make it more difficult to challenge improper foreclosure attempts by big mortgage processors is awaiting President Barack Obama’s signature after it quietly zoomed through the Senate last week.
The bill, passed without public debate in a way that even surprised its main sponsor, Republican Representative Robert Aderholt, requires courts to accept as valid document notarizations made out of state, making it harder to challenge the authenticity of foreclosure and other legal documents.
The timing raised eyebrows, coming during a rising furor over improper affidavits and other filings in foreclosure actions by large mortgage processors such as GMAC, JPMorgan and Bank of America.
Questions about improper notarizations have figured prominently in challenges to the validity of these court documents, and led to widespread halts of foreclosure proceedings.
The legislation could protect bank and mortgage processors from liability for false or improperly prepared documents.
The White House said it is reviewing the legislation.
“It is troubling to me and curious that it passed so quietly,” Thomas Cox, a Maine lawyer representing homeowners contesting foreclosures, told Reuters in an interview.
A deposition made public by Cox was what first called attention to improper affidavits by GMAC.
Since then, GMAC, JPMorgan and others have halted foreclosure actions in many states after acknowledging that they had filed large numbers of affidavits in which their employees falsely attested that they had personally reviewed records cited to justify the foreclosures.
Cox said the new obligation for courts to recognize notarizations of documents filed by big, out-of-state companies, would make it more difficult and costly to challenge the validity of the documents.
“Constituents” Pressed For Passage
After languishing for months in the Senate Judiciary Committee, the bill passed the Senate with lightning speed and with hardly any public awareness of the bill’s existence on Sept.27, the day before the Senate recessed for midterm election campaign.
The bill’s approval involved invocation of a special procedure.
Democratic Senator Robert Casey, shepherding last-minute legislation on behalf of the Senate leadership, had the bill taken away from the Senate Judiciary committee, which hadn’t acted on it.
The full Senate then immediately passed the bill without debate, by unanimous consent. The House had passed the bill in April.
The House actually had passed identical bills twice before, but both times they died when the Senate Judiciary Committee failed to act.
Some House and Senate staffers said the Senate committee had let the bills languish because of concerns that they would interfere with individual state’s rights to regulate notarizations.
Senate staffers familiar with the judiciary committee’s actions said the latest one passed by the House seemed destined for the same fate.
But shortly before the Senate’s recess, Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy pressed to have the bill rushed through the special procedure, after Leahy “constituents” called him and pressed for passage.
The staffers said they didn’t know who these constituents were or if anyone representing the mortgage industry or other interests had pressed for the bill to go through.
These staffers said that, in an unusual display of bipartisanship, Senator Jeff Sessions, the committee’s senior Republican, also helped to engineer the Senate’s unanimous consent for the bill.
Neither Leahy’s nor Session’s offices responded to requests for comment Wednesday. (emphasis added)
Hey Mr. Leahy! In the immortal words of Richard B. “Dick” Cheney:
“Go fuck yourself!”
To which I add “And the donkey party you rode in on!“
(From WCMB in the comments)
They are obfuscating because the problem isn’t the foreclosures themselves. The problem is all the mortgage-backed securities that spun off of those original notes – all the “side bets” that leveraged the original mortgage up to many multiples of the first note. Those are sitting on the big banks’ and hedge funds’ fake balance sheets of “assets” like big ole stinking turds.
The law required due diligence, and that non-performing loans did not get bundled into those “assets”. And the banks all winked and nodded and proceeded to pile garbage by the truckload into those “baskets” of derivatives, not bothering with the paper trail that was legally required. They were making money hand over fist on this Ponzi scheme, and figured they would never get caught because the housing bubble would never pop.
It’s not the foreclosures that will blow the whole thing sky high, it’s the side bets. Hillary knew this, which is why she wanted to actually unwind the MBS market, identify the toxic assets, and put them in a federal “bank”, a separate “pile” to isolate them from the rest of the system. Isolate them FIRST, leaving the banks healthy, then make decisions as to solutions for the toxic pile.
Our corporate govt is going to write a law, give a waiver, whatever they have to do to make sure that all that shaky leverage the banks took on is never exposed. Because if the banks are forced to take their real losses, many of them implode immediately.
The 700 billion bailout did NOTHING to clean up their balance sheets. Not one goddamn thing. They are as insolvent in reality as they were when this shit started, no matter what their fictional balance sheets say.
Making them eat their losses in a structured, organized way, with some help from the treasury so that the whole system didn’t go down, would have been a difficult time for the economy. It would have sucked for the country. But we would have come out of it with clean accurate balance sheets and a solid foundation to rebuild.
Instead, we spent 700 billion papering over the theft, only to wind up now right back where we started, with the rot still lurking there underneath, threatening at any moment to go kaboom once again.