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MBA responds to ‘unfounded allegations’ by ethics group

Claim nothing wrong with David Stevens' activities while at HUD

The National Legal and Policy Center, a nonprofit organization is calling for an official investigation on David Stevens, chief executive of the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The NLPC urges ethical change through legal action, according to their website. The MBA explained why they find the allegations unfounded.

Therefore, the NLPC urged U.S. Attorney General for the District of Columbia and the inspector general at the Housing and Urban Development to organize an official review on Stevens’ activities while working with the organization in 2011 and after when he led the MBA.  

According to The New York Times:

An investigation, the center said, would determine whether Mr. Stevens had violated federal rules barring former government officials from “communicating or appearing on behalf of persons or entities with respect to matters in which the former officials ‘personally and substantially participated’ during their government service.”

The ethics group also asked the government officials to look into whether Mr. Stevens had violated the law by trying to influence matters of interest to the mortgage bankers for a brief period when he was still in the government but had accepted the lobbying post. He was the FHA commissioner, a post within HUD, from mid-2009 through March 2011.

John Mechem, spokesman for the MBA issued a statement saying, "Dave Stevens and the Mortgage Bankers Association are scrupulous about our legal and ethics compliance obligations.” 

“From the moment Dave was first contacted by MBA regarding potential employment, he initiated regular meetings with the General Counsel and Designated Ethics Official of the Department of Housing & Urban Development to ensure he completely understood the applicable federal laws and the Obama Administration voluntary policies related to post-employment activities.  Both Dave and MBA have followed those laws and policies without deviation,” added Mechem.

"Since ending his government service, Dave has regularly consulted with attorneys inside and outside MBA to make sure that he and the Association are always in full compliance with the law. Outside counsel to MBA has specifically reviewed Dave's activities on behalf of MBA and its members and has confirmed that Dave has operated fully within the letter and spirit of the lobbying laws and ethics rules,” said Mechem.

“We believe these unfounded allegations are part of a concerted campaign concocted by a group who apparently have a financial incentive to discredit Dave and MBA’s efforts to advocate on behalf of our members for secondary mortgage market reform.  Opposing MBA's policy views is one thing, but engaging in false personal attacks is reprehensible,” added Mechem.

Per The New York Times:

The request for an investigation from the National Legal and Policy Center is the second such call for scrutiny of Mr. Stevens’s activities after he left government.

In mid-December, the nonprofit Campaign for Accountability asked the Justice Department to investigate Mr. Stevens for possible violations of so-called revolving door laws.

A spokesman for the accountability group said the Justice Department had acknowledged its request in December, but that it had heard nothing since.

Mr. Stevens’s activities were the subject of a Dec. 7, 2015, article in The New York Times. It detailed behind-the-scenes efforts of former top housing officials to help large banks dismantle Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage finance giants, and capture greater profits in the $5.7 trillion home loan market.

The New York Times also states they wrote about Stevens’ activities on Dec. 7, 2015, detailing behind-the-scenes efforts of former top housing officials to help large banks dismantle Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage finance giants, and capture greater profits in the $5.7 trillion home loan market.

“Even by Washington’s current low standards,” Ken Boehm, chairman of the NLPC, was quoted saying.

“Stevens was particularly brazen in apparently ignoring the pertinent statutes and ethics regulations,” concluded Boehm. 

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