Recent attempts by the Obama administration to persuade New York State Attorney General Eric
Schneiderman to sign off on the 50 state agreement that was being brokered by Iowa AG has resulted in Schneiderman being removed from the panel last week. In the on going power play to get Schneiderman to play ball with an agreement that would allow the banks to get away with a piteous fine and protection from any litigation regarding fraudulent foreclosures, Matt Stoller, formerly of Open Left and former Senior Policy Advisor to Rep. Alan Grayson, writes a revealing article at Naked Capitalism that examines President Obama and AG Tom Miller dishonesty in the negotiations and their need to squash Schneiderman’s investigations. Stoller argues that all the parties are doing what they think is right not because any of them must but because it is their choice. While it can be said that is somewhat true, there is the matter of law that they have all sworn to uphold. Scheiderman seems to be the one of the few, along with Delaware AG Beau Biden and Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, who is doing just that:
The banking system is really at the heart of our politics, which is why it’s such a great test of one’s political theory of change. I’ve been following the foreclosure fraud story for a few years now, because it’s the tail end of a massive economy-wide fraud scheme that started as early as 2003. The securitization chain failure can’t be put back in the bottle, the housing system it collapsed is simply too big to bail. So elites keep trying to patch this up the way they have everything else. It isn’t working. And their scheme has been obvious and obviously dishonest. Along with Obama (who I criticized as empty as early as 2004, ratcheting this up to dishonest and authoritarian by 2006-2007), I pointed out that Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller was engaged in serious bad faith only a few months after the negotiations started.
I’m no genius, I just listened to what these people actually said and did. Obama mocks the idea that he is an honest politician, overtly, lying about NAFTA and FISA very early on in power. Miller lied to activists about being willing to put bankers in jail, and then said he was negotiating with banks in secret. It was overt. For Miller, as with Obama, few people really picked up on the lies until recently. Iowa activists who heckled Miller got it, as did Naked Capitalism readers. Now it’s becoming more and more obvious. That’s just how it is, I suppose, people in the establishment are paid to not notice corruption until the harsh glare is too bright.
The crazy thing is that robosigning is apparently still going on. Right now, the “settlement” talks are the equivalent of law enforcement negotiating with a serial killer over whether he’ll get a parking ticket, even as he continually sprays bullets into the neighborhood. Even having these “settlement” talks when the actual crimes haven’t been investigated or a complaint hasn’t been registered should be example enough that this process is rigged as badly as Dodd-Frank. It should not be a surprise that the administration is putting pressure on Eric Schneiderman, that Tom Miller is kicking him out of the club house. That’s who these people are. It’s what they believe in. Just as it should not be a surprise, though it is laudable, that Schneiderman isn’t knuckling under to the administration. I suspect he probably is laughing at the idiocy of Miller’s pressure tactic. I mean, this is a guy going up some of the most powerful entities in the United States: Bank of New York Mellon, Bank of America, the New York Fed, etc. And the Iowa Attorney General isn’t going let him on conference calls? Mmmkay.
Stoller doesn’t end there with his indictment of the corruption and sell out to the banks. He call out the failure of Obama’s policy agenda in the wake of the 2010 defeats as a wake up call to Democrats and the party:
From 2006-2008, the Bush administration’s failures crashed down upon conservatives, and they in many ways could not cope. But their intellectual collapse was bailed out by Obama. Faux liberals are seeing their grand experiment in tatters, though right now they can only admit to feeling disappointed because the recognition that they have been swindled is far too painful. And the recognition for many of the professionals is even more difficult, because they must recognize that they have helped swindle many others and acknowledge the debt they have incurred to their victims. The signs of coming betrayal were there, but in the end it all comes down to judging people based on what they do and who they choose as opponents. And this Democratic partisans did not do, choosing instead a comfortable delusional fantasy-land where foreclosures don’t matter and theft enabled by Obama (and Clinton before him) doesn’t matter.
Of course there is always the possibility that a “minor player” such as Schneiderman can be easily taken down with an overblown personal scandal, as was former NY AG and governor, Eliot Spitzer. Schneiderman seems unfazed and unmoved by the threats and accusations that he undermining a bogus settlement with the banks that would help thousands of homeowners. And after the failures of other programs, such as HAMP, who is really going to believe that this is the cure?
The latest development in this on going battle for a realistic Main St rescue came when John O’Brien, Registry of Deeds for Southern Essex County in Massachusetts is requested that Iowa AG Tom Miller step down:
Schneidernan getting kicked off the committee should come as no surprise to anyone following the foreclosure negotiations and is sickeningly similar to Pam Bondi, Florida’s Attorney General firing Theresa Edwards and June Clarkson, who were heading up investigations on a series of mortgage related crimes for over a year.
While Bondi insists that the firings were a result of poor job performance, Miller points more towards attitude and that Schneiderman is somehow not a team player.
This is like Pam Bondi firing the two assistant AGs in Florida,” O’Brien said. “Miller claims that Schneiderman was undermining the negotiations. Why wouldn’t he since the negotiations are far from being in the best interest of homeowners and the general public? This settlement clearly favors the banks and I’m one hundred percent behind Eric Schneiderman. This is an outrage and they are beginning the process of selling the American people down the drain I say Miller should step down and all AGs should be appalled at what has happened.”
Schneiderman’s removal will likely make it easier for state and federal officials to reach an accord with the five banks. However, the potential amount of money they’ll be able to extract will likely decrease.
American Banker posted the 27 term sheet of the negotiations presented to the banks with major servicing operations by the AGs and Federal Banking Regulators.
The deal completely handcuffs state attorneys general whose constituents are suffering serious economic damage as a result of the foreclosure fiasco and fraud by the banks and servicers.
When the investigation into robo-signing and fraud, Tom Miller had a brief moment of righteous advocacy until he received $261,445 in campaign contributions from out-of-state law firms and donors from the finance, insurance, and real estate sector shortly after he announced he was seeking criminal charges and retribution from the banks for mortgage fraud — that’s 88 times what he has received in the past decade.
Nice pay off, Tom. Now, I wonder what Barack’s campaign is getting?