Congressional disquiet continues over friends of Angelo
A Maryland Democrat blasted the House Oversight Committee chairman in a letter this week for expanding the scope of a Bank of America (BAC) subpoena that seeks to uncover information on individuals who benefited from sweetheart mortgages originated under Countrywide's controversial "VIP and/or Friends of Angelo" program. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the committee, issued a subpoena this month asking for documents, e-mail and records tied to the Angelo program. The program, which functioned under Countrywide prior to BofA's acquisition of the lender in 2008, drew criticism for offering VIP clients discount mortgages. Members of Congress — including former Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Sen. Kent Conrad (D-Neb.) — were alleged to have benefited from the Friends of Angelo program. Dodd has continually denied receiving special treatment. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), a member of the House Oversight Committee, is concerned that Issa's subpoena is too broad. Cummings said any information that ties current or former congressional members to the VIP program should be separated from the committee's probe and sent to the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, which oversees ethical inquiries. In addition, Cummings criticized the subpoena for being too broad when compared to a similar subpoena filed two years ago since it requests information on former congressional members, as well as their staff. In his letter, Cummings said Issa had promised the subpoena was not created for the purpose of targeting current or former lawmakers. "If you do not intend to investigate members of Congress, it appears that the changes in your subpoena were unnecessary," Cummings wrote. "In other words, if you are not targeting any members, there was no need to expand the subpoena in this way. Unfortunately, you issued this subpoena before adequately consulting with me or other members of the committee. Although you contacted me to inform me of your decision to issue the subpoena, you did not give me an opportunity to review the text of the subpoena or share my views with you." Write to Kerri Panchuk.