- - Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Texas lawmaker got discounted mortgage

The House Republican campaign chairman, Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas, has been notified that he received a discounted mortgage from the now-defunct Countrywide Financial Corp.

Mr. Sessions’ spokeswoman, Torrie Miller, confirmed that the congressman was told that records show he received the discounts through Countrywide’s VIP program.

Mr. Sessions becomes the fourth House member — and third Republican — whose records were sent to the House ethics committee for further investigation. The ethics panel will likely investigate whether the lawmakers received improper gifts and whether they performed any favorable actions for the lender. The four were notified by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Two of the Republicans play prominent roles: Mr. Sessions, as the person responsible for Republican efforts to maintain their House majority in the November elections, and Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon of California, who has major influence over the defense budget as chairman of the Armed Services Committee.

The others who received discounts are Rep. Elton Gallegly, California Republican, and Rep. Edolphus Towns, New York Democrat. All four denied that they were aware of receiving any sweetheart deals from Countrywide.


Obama to accept party nomination at stadium

CHARLOTTE — President Obama plans to accept the Democratic presidential nomination in the open air of Bank of America Stadium on the final day of his party’s convention here next summer, repeating a page from his 2008 convention playbook.

Democrats also announced Tuesday that the convention will be shortened from the traditional four days to three to have a day to celebrate the Carolinas, Virginia and the South. That celebration would take place on Monday, Sept. 3, which is Labor Day.

The convention would run Tuesday through Thursday at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Mr. Obama will deliver his acceptance speech on Thursday, Sept. 6. Moving the speech to the 74,000-seat stadium, which is home to the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, will allow thousands more activists and others to attend, officials said.

In 2008, Mr. Obama accepted the Democratic nomination under the open skies of Denver’s Invesco Field.

“From the start, this convention has been about engaging more people in the process,” said Democratic Party Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. “We saw in Denver in 2008 how holding the president’s acceptance speech at Invesco Field allowed more Americans to be part of the process and part of this experience.”

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