Another Call for Mortgage Disclosure

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Last month, after Portfolio revealed that Sens. Chris Dodd and Kent Conrad received favorable loan deals from mortgage giant Countrywide, members of the Senate Ethics Committee attempted to attach an amendment to housing relief legislation that would require the disclosure of mortgages and their details for members of Congress in their annual personal financial disclosure reports. The amendment was ruled non-germane and was dropped from consideration.

In the House, Rep. Mark Souder is keeping the disclosure flame alive, introducing a bill to require mortgage disclosure on personal financial disclosure reports. Souder’s bill would mandate the disclosure of home mortgages including the name of the creditor, the interest rate on payments, the number of years remaining, and the amount of the mortgage.

This is a good step in providing more detailed and accurate information on personal financial disclosure reports, and certainly a proper response to the Countrywide revelations. Congress should take this issue seriously and aim to adopt the transparency reforms in Souder’s bill.

For further steps on clarifying and furthering disclosure in personal financial disclosures, you can see Ellen Miller’s Op-Ed in Roll Call (no subscription needed this time) from a few weeks ago.

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  • jeanne

    I find it ironic that Souder is promoting “transparency”: “If you’re going to live in a fishbowl and make decisions,” Souder said, “you have to be transparent.”( from the Ft. Wayne Journal Gazette) In the FY2007 DOD appropriations bill HR 5631 Mr. Souder asked for and, as far as I know, obtained an earmark of $1 million for three orthopedic supply companies that included Biomet, a Warsaw, IN company in which he held stock at the time he applied for and obtained the earmark. Nowhere did I see Mr. Souder declaring the fact that he was earmarking funds for a company in which he held stock. Is that what he calls “transparency”?