The Issa committee report confirmed that the VIP section processed a 30-year, $182,972 loan to Towns for a vacation home in Lutz, Fla., and a $194,540, 30-year mortgage for his Brooklyn residence.
Towns still defended his approach when the Oversight Committee met for the first time under Republican control in January 2011. “This is not a super ethics committee and I want to make that very clear,” he said at the public meeting.
The Issa report named:
—Towns, who has consistently denied that he received any special treatment from Countrywide.
—Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., now chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. A spokeswoman said McKeon was never aware of any Friends of Angelo designation and shares an interest with Issa in determining whether there was any wrongdoing by Countrywide.
—Rep. Elton Gallegly, R-Calif. His spokesman said his Countrywide loan carried an interest rate of 5.75 percent, which was comparable to rates at that time. Gallegly never asked for preferential treatment, the spokesman said.
The report also said Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, the current House GOP campaign chairman, had a loan processed by the VIP section. Sessions’ spokeswoman said he requested that he not be extended any special benefits or treatment from Countrywide, and Issa’s report confirmed the request was granted.
Towns’ spokesman said the report does not alter the congressman’s assertion that he did not receive any preferential treatment.
As for Towns‘ actions in 2009, spokesman Charles Lewis said: “He’s done talking about it. He said everything he’s going to say about it.”
Back in October 2009 the Democratic-controlled Oversight Committee’s spokeswoman at the time, Jenny Rosenberg, said Towns was the victim of a smear campaign.
She said Towns resisted the subpoena initially because there were other government investigations of Countrywide already under way, and he wanted to focus on investigating companies that received federal bailout money.
Two Democrats publicly broke with Towns on the issue in 2009. One of them, Rep. Mike Quigley of Illinois, said in a recent interview: “A majority of members of the committee wanted disclosure. The committee chairman needed our encouragement to send a subpoena. It looks bad if we redact names.”
The second lawmaker, former Rep. Paul Hodes of New Hampshire, said in a recent interview, “I thought we had a mandate to drain the swamp, and I took it seriously.”
Two House members said Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., who is close to Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, privately conveyed to Towns that it was a bad idea to resist an investigation of member and staff discount loans. The members would not be quoted by name because they said the matter was too politically sensitive.