Spending and Lending

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The Politico follows up on the report released last week by Common Cause on the escalation in political spending by mortgage lenders coupled with the rise in questionable lending practices (sub-prime and adjustable rate mortgages) that have hit low income families particularly hard. So, what does the mortgage industry have to say for itself?

 

Erick Gustafson, vice president of the Mortgage Bankers Association, says there's no connection between the millions his industry doles out and legislation that benefits mortgage lenders by permitting abusive lending practices:

 

“Everybody in this town spends a lot of money to get told ‘no’. And there’s not any sort of expectation on the part of the person’s who’s giving – at least amongst the professionals that are giving or amongst the recipients – that there’s a gain from the exchange of political cash.”

What does motivate it? It's not idealogy: industry giving patterns have shifted with the ascension of Democrats in Congress -- even as Democrats took office pledging to crack down on sub-prime lending. No, that money has one purpose, and it's to win favor with Congress, push legislation that benefits lending companies at the expense of low income families, and divert attention from the disturbing rise in home foreclosure rates.