Capito Not Abiding by Own Ethics Standards

By Swint, Howard | The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV), September 4, 2012 | Go to article overview

Capito Not Abiding by Own Ethics Standards


Swint, Howard, The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV)


WHEN IT was first reported that members of Congress had received preferential mortgage loans, a crusading Rep. Shelley Moore Capito called for an investigative hearing on Capitol Hill.

In a June 24, 2008, letter to the then-Chair of the House Committee on Financial Services, she called for the disclosure of Members' personal mortgage terms including "reduced rates, fee waivers, and unique benefits not accessible to the general public."

The letter stated further that, "preferential loan deals given to powerful members (of Congress) and other governmental officials raise serious questions" and she and other signatories demanded public disclosure.

That's because during the Financial Crisis it was learned that several members of Congress breached the public trust by actually profiting during the economic collapse.

And in the case of the Countrywide Financial scandal, members received what amounted to unreported financial gifts designed to garner influence on future legislative activities that could have impacted the mortgage lender's bottom line.

As a result, members of Congress must now abide by new ethics laws that require expanded financial disclosure into personal mortgage terms.

Unfortunately, the House of Representatives has taken a much narrower interpretation of the law than the Senate, making a mockery of its intent as House members can still hide below-market terms they receive.

As a result, they can call for greater transparency in government, grandstand in the media and boast how they vote for more disclosure, yet effectively hide their own personal financial details.

And that appears to be exactly what Rep. Capito has done, for despite her own demand for an investigative hearing into other members' mortgage details, she has refused to disclose her own, including those same "reduced rates, fee waivers, and unique benefits not accessible to the general public. …

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