A month after the nation’s largest banks reached a mortgage fraud settlement with the federal government and state attorneys general, House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) joined Rep. Ed Towns (D-NY) for a foreclosure hearing in Brooklyn this morning. The field hearing included remarks by both Issa and Towns as well as scheduled testimony from representatives of Wall Street banks that were a part of the settlement, including Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citigroup, and JPMorgan Chase.
The hearing was almost immediately interrupted by protesters, however, who called on Issa and the panelists to “stop fighting for Wall Street and fight for the people that elected you!” Others chanted at Issa, “Work for the people!” before they were removed by security.
Watch it, courtesy of Raw Story:
The protesters were promptly removed for interrupting the hearing, but Issa was just getting started. He later blamed homeowners for robo-signing, the fraudulent foreclosure practice that landed banks in hot water in 2010, according to AlterNet reporter Sarah Jaffe:
.@darrellissa also just said that robosigning happened as a result of a swamped agency and was the fault of people who stopped paying.
— Sarah Jaffe (@seasonothebitch) March 19, 2012
Blaming homeowners and backlogs for robo-signing is directly contradictory to a report issued by the inspector general of the Department and Urban Development last week. That investigation found that the nation’s biggest banks — several of which had representatives on Issa’s panel — knew about the fraudulent practice, and that managers had authorized robo-signing. Bank managers gave out “vice president” titles to unqualified employees so they could robo-sign documents and squashed investigations into the practices. And when the scandal originally broke in 2010, banks promised to end the practice, only to keep robo-signing documents for at least another year.
Issa’s thoughts on foreclosure fraud, unfortunately, aren’t new. Before the GOP took control of the House in 2011, Issa promised not to investigate the fraudulent acts committed by Wall Street banks, instead vowing to focus his attention on home loans made to poor people.