WASHINGTON (AP) - A House committee says an aide to former U.S. Sen. Robert Bennett is among the government officials who received a discount loan from former Countrywide Financial Corp. as the company worked to win influence while writing and selling billions of dollars in high-risk subprime mortgages.
The report obtained by The Associated Press lists the Utah Republican's communications director, Mary Jane Collipriest, as among the hundreds of congressional aides, members of Congress top Cabinet officials and Fannie Mae executives who received the deals.
In the report, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee says the loan discounts were one way Countrywide tried to sway lawmakers against tightening regulations on Fannie Mae and to maintain Fannie as a big customer of Countrywide-written mortgages.
Six members of Congress got the so-called VIP loans. Countrywide's subprime mortgages helped bring about the 2008 financial meltdown when borrowers defaulted, setting off waves of foreclosures and the collapse of the housing market.
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