Monday, December 31, 2007

Gambling? In A Casino?

by Tanta on 12/31/2007 07:01:00 AM

It's shocking. Via naked capitalism, this jewel from the WSJ on subprime lender-sponsored lobbying efforts against predatory lending regulation:

Washington lobbyist Wright Andrews and his wife, Lisa, coordinated much of the industry's lobbying. Mr. Andrews's firm, Butera & Andrews, collected at least $4 million in fees from the subprime industry from 2002 through 2006, congressional lobbying reports indicate. Mr. Andrews didn't represent Ameriquest directly. He ran three different subprime-industry trade groups: the National Home Equity Mortgage Association, of which Ameriquest was a member; the Coalition for Fair and Affordable Lending, which spent $6.3 million lobbying against state laws before it dissolved earlier this year, according to federal filings; and the Responsible Mortgage Lending Coalition.

In 2003, Lisa Andrews was appointed senior vice president for government affairs at Ameriquest. Her public-relations firm, Washington Communications Group Inc., claims credit on its Web site for coordinating the industry's victory in New Jersey, as well as its overall strategy at the state level. Ms. Andrews left Ameriquest in 2005 and returned to her firm. . . .

In the wake of the collapse of the subprime market, Mr. Andrews's subprime lobbying business has withered. The three trade groups he ran are gone, and most of his subprime clients have stopped lobbying.

"I certainly was not aware of the degree to which many in the industry clearly failed to follow proper underwriting standards -- the standards which they represented they were following to those of us who were lobbying," Mr. Andrews says.
Here's a hint, Mr. Andrews. When a regulation is proposed that says lenders should adopt a certain underwriting standard, and the industry responds by saying "we already do it that way," and then pays you $4 million to stop that regulation from being enacted, you actually have some reason to believe they're pulling your leg. No, really.