Congress member Darrell Issa
Congress is divided over whether to probe a controversial “VIP” mortgage program from Countrywide Financial. Those critical of the program, including Congress member Darrell Issa of California, said that the VIP mortgage program was used to gain favor from influential politicians. Issa said that the program “engaged in a systematic campaign to buy influence” from high-ranking public officials by offering special incentives to loan holders. But Congress member Edolphus Towns, whose district is comprised largely of Brooklyn neighborhoods, said that there are no-such favors offered to VIP mortgage holders and that many of the people involved in the program are private citizens, not elected officials. Towns, who sits as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has received two Countrywide VIP loans, according to public mortgage documents.