The Corner

NRO Doc Drop: BofA-Scripted Bank Bailout Looks Awfully Similar to Dodd-Drafted Housing Bill

National Review Online has obtained an internal Bank of America “discussion document” (pdf here) on the subject of the FHA Housing Stabilization and Homeownership Retention Act of 2008, a.k.a. the Dodd-Shelby mortgage-lender bailout bill.

Yesterday, Tim Carney reported that the prevailing sentiment on Capitol Hill is that the Dodd-Shelby bill “is exactly what Bank of America and Countrywide wanted.” BofA is in the process of acquiring Countrywide. Countrywide is currently embroiled in a scandal over its V.I.P. program, under which several powerful politicians, including Sen. Chris Dodd, got preferential loan rates.

This discussion document (dated March 11, 2008) would appear to support the contention that BofA essentially wrote the bailout section of the bill. Almost all of BofA’s preferences are mirrored in the Dodd-Shelby legislation. The BofA document even offers PR tips, such as “We believe that any intervention by the federal government will be acceptable only if it is not perceived as a bail-out of the bond market.”

The president has threatened to veto Dodd-Shelby because it would “unfairly benefit lenders who made bad loans.” The Senate will resume debating the bill on Monday.

The BofA doc is worth posting here for a couple of reasons: First, the similarities between BofA’s ideal bill and the bill before the Senate are obvious even to the layperson — read the document, then read David C. John’s analysis of the bailout and see for yourself.

Second, we’d invite our readers with some expertise in this area to look over the document for things we might have missed. Opponents of the bailout are lucky that a few tenacious Republicans (Kit Bond, DeMint et al) were able to hold up the bill and keep it from passing as quickly as expected. The fight resumes next week, so take a look at this document and keep digging.

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