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MT Democrats: Congressman Hill’s Seedy Relationship with Countrywide

Helena, Mont. – As a Congressman, Rick Hill received thousands of dollars in contributions from the now bankrupt mortgage lender Countrywide. And, in the wake of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Government Oversight and Reform announcing this week that Countrywide used its VIP loan program to influence Washington policymakers between 1996-2008 (1), Montana Democrats are calling on the former U.S. House member to explain his relationship with the company.

“Congressman Hill accepted thousands of dollars from Countrywide during his tenure in Washington, D.C.,” said Montana Democratic Party Executive Director Ted Dick. “In exchange for these campaign donations, Congressman Hill supported Countrywide by voting in favor of the company’s interests. This serves as another example of Congressman Hill supporting the interests of big corporations over what’s best for hardworking Montanans. And, we believe that Montana voters deserve an explanation about Hill’s relationship with the company.”

Between 1997-1999, Congressman Hill accepted a total of $1,500 from Countrywide’s PAC (2). In 2000, Hill supported Countrywide’s interests by voting for an anti-consumer bankruptcy aimed at “severely curtailing the ability of individuals to obtain protection from creditors under our nation’s bankruptcy laws” (3). Countrywide has since filed for bankruptcy, and in June 2010 their mortgage and home loans units “agreed to pay $108 million to settle federal charges that the company overcharged customers who were struggling to hang onto their homes” (4,5). 

Check the Facts (Sources):

1. U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Government Oversight and Reform. “How Countrywide Used its VIP Loan Program To Influence Washington Policymakers.” July 3, 2012. Hyperlink: http://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Countrywide-112th-Report-7.3.12-1207-PM.pdf.

2. Opensecrets.org. “PAC Contributions to Representative Rick Hill.” 1996-2000. Hyperlink: http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/summary.php?cid=N00004644&cycle=2000.

3. United Auto Workers. “1999 Roll Call: Key Voting Issues House.” Hyperlink: www.uaw.org.

4. Associated Press. “Bankruptcy watchdogs seek to sanction Countrywide Financial.” February 29, 2008. Hyperlink: http://www.montanademocrats.org/node/399.

5. New York Times. “Countrywide Financial Corporation.” December 21, 2011. Hyperlink: http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/business/companies/countrywide_financial_corporation/index.html.

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