Senate Finance Committee Democrats Boycott Confirmation Votes

Happening this morning on Capitol Hill:

Senate Democrats on Tuesday refused to show up to committee confirmation votes on Treasury nominee Steven Mnuchin and Health and Human Services nominee Tom Price.

Democrats led by Senate Finance Committee ranking member Ron Wyden announced they would not participate in the session just as the panel was scheduled to vote.

Democrats suggested Mnuchin and Price misled senators in testimony to Congress and said they wanted more information.

At issue: in Mnuchin’s case, an explosive report from the Columbus Dispatch alleging he misled the Finance Committee on OneWest Bank’s practice of robo-signing on foreclosure documents.  More details from the story:

“Robo-signing” is the informal term for when a mortgage company employee signs hundreds of foreclosures, swearing they have scrutinized the documents as required by law when in fact they have not.

“OneWest Bank did not ‘robo-sign’ documents,” Mnuchin wrote in response to questions from individual senators, “and as the only bank to successfully complete the Independent Foreclosure Review required by federal banking regulators to investigate allegations of ‘robo-signing,’ I am proud of our institution’s extremely low error rate.”

But a Dispatch analysis of nearly four dozen foreclosure cases filed by OneWest in Franklin County in 2010 alone shows that the company frequently used robo-signers. The vast majority of the Columbus-area cases were signed by 11 different people in Travis County, Texas. Those employees called themselves vice presidents, assistant vice presidents, managers and assistant secretaries. In three local cases, a judge dismissed OneWest foreclosure proceedings specifically based on inaccurate robo-signings.

At issue in Price’s case is the revelation by company officials from Innate Immunotherapeutics that Price did in fact get an offer to buy company stock at a 12 percent discount, contradicting Price’s sworn testimony.   The value of the company’s shares has tripled since the offering.

Here’s the statement from Finance Committee ranking member Ron Wyden (D-Oregon):

Author: David de Sola

Editor/Publisher Political Wilderness

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