The mortgages were sold to investment banks by Countrywide during the real estate boom, and became worth substantially less as homeowners began defaulting on their loans. Countrywide was later purchased by Bank of America, and is now responsible for Countrywide’s debt.
Mortgage bond investors are being organized by Bill Frey of Greenwich Financial to demand that big Wall Street firms buy back mortgage bonds created using home loans that later went bad.
Here’s a look at the influence behind the companies mentioned in the piece:
- Countrywide Financial spent $890,630 in campaign contributions and spent $8.6 million on lobbying between 2001 and when it was taken over by Bank of America in July 2008. One of the bills Countrywide lobbied was the Responsible Lending Act.
- Bank of America made $3,613,051 in campaign contributions in the 2009-10 election cycle, 62 percent of which went to Republicans.
- BlackRock Inc. made $319,590 in campaign contributions in 2009-10, 79 percent of which went to Democrats. The company also spent $390,000 on lobbying in 2009-10.
- BlackRock and Bank of America both hired lobbyists for some of the same bills related to the settlement deal, including the Helping Families Save Their homes Act of 2009 which became law, and the Comprehensive Derivatives Regulation Act of 2009, which did not.
- Bank of New York Mellon made $792,565 in campaign contributions in 2009-10, 55 percent of which went to Democrats. The bank spent $2.4 million lobbying Congress on issues including the Wall Street Transparency and Accountability Act of 2010, which BlackRock and Bank of America both hired lobbyists for and eventually became law.
‘Influence Explored’ takes an article from the day’s headlines and exposes the influential ways of entities mentioned in the article. Names and corporations are run through Sunlight’s influence tracking tools such as Influence Explorer and Transparency Data to remind readers of the money that powers Washington.