House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has asked the former head of Countrywide Financial to conduct a transcribed interview about his role in the company’s alleged attempts to bribe members of Congress.
Issa, who is investigating a Countrywide loan program that gave preferential treatment to some customers, asked lawyers for Angelo Mozilo for an interview with the ex-CEO of Countrywide, once the country’s largest mortgage lender.
Documents obtained by Issa indicate that Mozilo was one of the key players in the “Friends of Angelo” program, according to the letter sent to Mozilo’s lawyer, David Siegel, on Tuesday. The letter was obtained by The Hill on Wednesday.
Issa has been investigating the matter since 2008 and issued his first subpoena as Oversight chairman last year to Bank of America, which took over the failing Countrywide company that year.
Earlier this year the names of three Republican lawmakers were leaked to the press as having been referred by Issa to the House Ethics Committee for possible involvement in the VIP program. They were National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) Chairman Pete Sessions (Texas), House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (Calif.) and Rep. Elton Gallegly (Calif.).
A fourth member, Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), was also referred to the committee but his name initially surfaced in 2009. All have denied wrongdoing.
Issa began his probe following the news that Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, and former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) were fingered as having received discounted loans under the program. Dodd was chairman of the Senate Banking Committee at the time.
In 2009, after investigating the issue, the Senate Ethics Committee opted not to penalize the senators, saying only that they should have known better.
Siegel, who works for the Irrell and Manella law firm in California that represents Mozilo, said he had received the letter from Issa and was planning to "respond to the committee's staff as appropriate."
This story was updated at 11:10 p.m.