For more than a year, we’ve been watching key players in the “investigation” by Attorneys General across the country into fraudulent and otherwise illegal mortgage and foreclosure practices drift toward an inadequate settlement based on insufficient information. Individual AGs who object too strenuously to the rush to settlement, like New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, are ignored, reviled or even asked to leave the table.
Now, Wisconsin Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin has introduced a resolution that may help additional AGs find the wherewithal to stand firm and insist on thorough investigation and a settlement, if any, that adequately addresses the wrongs done and the damage caused.
According to David Dayen at Firedoglake, the resolution states that any settlement should follow these guidelines:
1) Banks that engaged in fraudulent behavior “should not be granted criminal or civil immunity for potential wrongdoing related to illegal mortgage and foreclosure practices,”
2) the federal government and state AGs should “proceed with full investigations into claims of fraudulent behavior by mortgage servicers” and
3) any monetary sum paid by the banks should “appropriately compensate for, and accurately reflect, the extent of harm to all victims.”
These are, of course, concerns we’ve heard voiced (and voiced ourselves) many times over the past few years, but unfortunately we haven’t heard them voiced by the right people: the law enforcement agencies, courts, and the coalition of Attorneys General who are charged with making things right. Baldwin, unfortunately, doesn’t have a direct voice in the ongoing negotiations. But her resolution, like the recent letter from California Democrats urging AG Kamala Harris to stand firm against an inadequate settlement, is one step closer to an environment in which those actually at the bargaining table may find the courage to address the real issues at hand.