Tag: Buck McKeon

Feb 13 2012

AD-38: Antelope Valley Press Picks Up On Buck McKeon Countrywide Financial Stall Game

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From the Antelope Valley Press today

The entire article is behind a registration wall, but I was sent a copy of the post. The key graphs are:

  • More than a week before news that Congressman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon received a discounted Countrywide Financial Corp. mortgage loan became public, the federal lawmaker’s staff went on the attack, circulating an internal memo that instructed all to “hold off” going to the news media and make sure a former McKeon staffer and a potential challenger were investigated and included in the discussion when the story broke.
  • The memo goes on to direct staff members to conduct “mock media interviews” before meeting with reporters and to ensure that Rep. Elton Gallegly, R-Simi Valley, who was also listed as receiving a discounted Countrywide loan, was “made part of the conversation.”
  • Lee Rogers, a 34-year-old Simi Valley Democrat running against McKeon in the 25th Congressional District, said it was clearly stated in the memo that McKeon wanted to bring down Gallegly with him. “At that point, he was considering the fact that Elton may be running against him for the primary in that seat,” he said.

This entire Countrywide financial scandal is now just gaining speed with the local Santa Clarita Press.

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Feb 13 2012

AD-38: Details Emerge on Buck and Patricia McKeon’s Countrywide Home Loans

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Assembly Candidate Patricia McKeon and husband, California Rep. Buck McKeon, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee

Four years after Countrywide Financial became a symbol of the mortgage meltdown, the company and its questionable dealings have become a potent political issue in the Santa Clarita congressional district held by Republican Howard “Buck” McKeon.

Congressional investigators allege that McKeon and Rep. Elton Gallegly, a Republican colleague whose neighboring district includes much of Ventura County, got cut-rate home loans under a Countrywide VIP program known as “Friends of Angelo,” named for the now-defunct Calabasas lender’s former chief executive, Angelo Mozilo.

McKeon received a $315,000 mortgage refinance in 1998 as his family-owned business, Howard & Phil’s Western Wear, was going through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to documents reviewed by The Times. McKeon was no longer involved in the daily operation of the business after his 1992 election to Congress, but he had retained a stake in it. He saw his income plummet in the years before refinancing his Stevenson Ranch home, financial disclosures and bankruptcy filings show.

In spite of that, McKeon received a favorable rate and wasn’t required to produce documentation proving he could repay the mortgage — terms ordered by Mozilo himself, according to documents subpoenaed for a House inquiry.

This looks pretty greasy as the Friends of Angelo program previously sunk the political careers of Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd and Senator Kent Conrad.

So, what did McKeon do? Did he and his wife, Patricia receive favorable treatment because he was a Member of Congress?

Did he receive a mortgage after fling for a bankruptcy and not be required to supply needed documents on order to qualify?

One email written by a Countrywide staffer included this instruction on McKeon’s loan: “Per Angelo — take off 1 point, no garbage fees, approve the loan and make it a no doc.” Another notation recorded by a Countrywide employee said McKeon seemed “edgy” and “wants to close ASAP,” according to documents obtained by Issa.

McKeon’s office said McKeon had never met or spoken to Mozilo and was “shocked and angry to hear this, as he had no knowledge of the Friends of Angelo designation.” In an interview in his Capitol Hill office last month, McKeon said he had paid the “garbage fees” and did not get a point off on the loan.

“In other words, I didn’t get a deal,” he said.

Some mortgage experts who reviewed loan documents provided to The Times by McKeon’s office disputed that. (None of the reviewers were told who the borrower was.)

In any case, McKeon is in a “safe” Republican district and his only real opponent was Rep. Elton Gallegly who was redistricted into McKeon’s Congressional District. Gallegly has already announced his retirement.

This scandal of sorts will probably have more of an effect on Patricia McKeon’s Assembly campaign since she benefited from the same mortgages.

The McKeons bought the Stevenson Ranch property, a foreclosed home, in August 1997 for $261,000, putting down 10% and getting a loan of $234,900, property records show. In January 1998, they took out a home equity loan of $31,500 through Valencia National Bank, where McKeon had previously sat on the board.

That October, Countrywide approved the $315,000 refinance loan. The loan paid off McKeon’s original mortgage loan and the home equity loan and gave him $46,894 in cash.

Five months later, the couple took out another home equity loan through Valencia, in the amount of $30,000.

Stay tuned as more details of the flap emerge.

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Feb 09 2012

AD-38 Video: Rep Buck McKeon Doesn’t Want to Answer Questions About Defense Contractors Contributing to His Wife Patricia McKeon’s Assembly Campaign

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This Republic Report videographer obviously got NOWHERE with Rep. Buck McKeon and the reports that Defense Contractor Lobbyists are bankrolling his wife’s campaign for the California Assembly.

Somehow I think that Patricia is going to have to answer the questions herself, when she debates the other candidates.

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Feb 09 2012

AD-38: Note to Political Operatives – A Woman Scorned

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Speaker Boehner, Patricia McKeon and Rep. Buck McKeon

The entire Flap between Rep. Buck McKeon, his wife, Patrica McKeon, a candidate for California Assembly District 38, Scott Wilk – also a candidate for California Assembly and his wife, Vanessa Wilk is here.

But , now that national paper Roll Call is covering the matter.

Consider this an HOH public service announcement. Political operatives, beware. When you bring folks’ spouses into the mix, things get unpredictable.

On Tuesday, HOH reported that an internal memo, circulated to Rep. Buck McKeon’s senior staff, laid out the office’s strategy for addressing the California Republican’s involvement in the latest Countrywide mortgage scandal.

McKeon is one of four Members referred to the House Ethics Committee to discern whether Countrywide provided preferential treatment to influential lawmakers through an exclusive loan program.

The memo included a reference to a California state Assembly race that pits a former McKeon aide, Scott Wilk, against McKeon’s wife, Patricia.

According to the memo, McKeon’s strategy should include “thorough background checks into the relationships between Wilk, [Wilk’s political consultant, Jason Cable] Roe, and their recent shady political connections.”

After reading the item, Scott Wilk’s wife, Vanessa, leapt to her husband’s defense, sending a furious email to McKeon.

Although everyone seems to be focusing on the sleezy tactics, Congressman McKeon is using to bolster his wife, Patricia’s, Assembly campaign, there remains the issue of Countrywide and Rep.McKeon’s involvement with preferential loans, presumably for himself and his wife.

I wonder if the National Republican Congressional Committee is going to have a chat with the Congressman and tell him to mind his own campaign – one which because of his ethics problems – may prove more difficult than one thinks.

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Feb 08 2012

Updated: AD-38: Rep. Buck McKeon Caught Covering His Bases for Himself and California Assembly Candidate Wife Patricia McKeon

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The memo from Rep. Buck McKeon’s communications director  “a recap of current strategy call” — addressed  to Chief of Staff Bob Cochran, Deputy Chief of Staff Bob Haueter and political consultant Tony Marsh is included in the bottom of the post.

 

Speaker Boehner, Patricia McKeon and Rep. Buck McKeon

As I said in a previous post, this California Assembly race is starting to heat up. The latest is the partial release of a memo by Roll Call that outlines Rep. Buck McKeon’s strategy in deflecting attention away from a revelation of his dealings with Countrywide Financial. The link to the Roll Call Story is here.

When House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) became ensnared by the Countrywide mortgage scandal last month, his senior staff came together for a strategy session to decide how to throw colleagues, potential challengers and former employees under the bus.

McKeon is one of four Members referred to the House Ethics Committee to discern whether Countrywide provided preferential treatment to influential lawmakers through an exclusive loan program.

McKeon’s communications director drafted a memo — “a recap of current strategy call” — and addressed it to Chief of Staff Bob Cochran, Deputy Chief of Staff Bob Haueter and political consultant Tony Marsh.

The memo included a reference to a California state Assembly race that pits a former McKeon staffer, Scott Wilk, against McKeon’s wife, Patricia. Wilk previously worked as McKeon’s press secretary and later his district director.

According to the memo, McKeon’s strategy should include “thorough background checks into the relationships between Wilk, [Wilk’s political consultant, Jason Cable] Roe, and their recent shady political connections.”

When asked for comment, Wilk replied: “Well, you [have] got to remember this Assembly seat and his new Congressional seat are all in the same area. … Mr. McKeon has been catching some grief from the right.”

OK, so Buck McKeon is a typical POL who doesn’t care who he throws under the bus, as long as his ass is covered and his wife wins a California Assembly seat – funded by Buck’s defense contractor buddies.

Pretty typical POL stuff, right?

Well, this afternoon, Patricia McKeon’s opponent’s (Scott Wilk) wife got into the FLAP.

You see, Vanessa Wilk has sent Rep. Buck McKeon a letter, asking him to apologize about saying all of those nasty things about her husband, Scott.

Here is the letter:

McKeon Letter 02072012

What is interesting is that Congressman Buck McKeon has been working or can you say conspiring to defame his wife’s political opponents. Hope you weren’t spending government time on this endeavor, Buck?

OK, maybe this is understandable in the world of hardball politics( not too ethical, mind you), except Buck himself is up for re-election this year and now has his own scandal with Countrywide on his hands. So, divert that attention, Buck to save your own ass.

Somehow I think there will be more dirty tricks in this race, than either side will want or will care to admit.

Oh yeah, Vanessa, I doubt a POL like Buck will return you hard-earned contributions…

Update:

BMcKeon-CampaignStrategy

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