House Republicans further intensified their rhetoric on the Countrywide VIP situation Thursday night as House Minority Leader John Boehner’s office called Democratic leaders hypocrites who are “thumbing their noses at calls for oversight hearings.”
In a press release, Boehner’s press office says that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democratic leaders demanded hearings on the Enron and WorldCom scandals, which the Republican-led Congress did.
“Under Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who once ironically pledged to ‘drain the swamp’ in Washington, the House has stood flatfooted as scandals have erupted involving the trial lawyer industry and possible sweetheart deals between senior Democrats and mortgage lending giant Countrywide,” the release says.
The Countrywide scandal, of course, involves the allegations that Sens. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) got sweetheart mortgage deals from that company. Both senators say they did not knowingly get special treatment.
The trial lawyer scandal refers to the case of the trial lawyer firm Milberg Weiss, which federal investigators found was involved in illegal kickbacks to plaintiffs. The court cases have led GOP members to call for investigations and even new laws on trial lawyers in shareholder suits.
On Countrywide, Republicans pounced on House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank’s announcement – made earlier today – that his committee will not conduct oversight hearings on the VIP program.
“Now settled into their majority, senior congressional Democrats have lost all traces of the investigatory zeal they demonstrated during the dark days of Enron and WorldCom. Instead they’re thumbing their noses at calls for oversight hearings on industry scandals involving the trial lawyer industry and Countrywide,” the Boehner release says.