OneWest Donated to California Attorney General Kamala Harris Before Case Was Dropped

A potential investigation of foreclosure abuse by OneWest Bank, which was owned at the time by current Trump-appointee Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, was abandoned after OneWest donated to the political campaigns of then-California Attorney General Jerry Brown (2006-2010) and incoming California Attorney General Kamala Harris (2011-2016).

The “donations” (political bribes) occurred in 2010, shortly after an attempt to subpoena the bank and while the bank was negotiating with the attorney general’s office, but before a formal investigation was opened.

According to a memorandum from the California attorney general’s office, no court action was filed “despite strong recommendations.”

“Donations” by a business being investigated should be a clear conflict of interest, but the exchange of political money is a dark underbelly of the entire foreclosure criminal enterprise and happens frequently.

Homeowner advocacy groups criticize Mnuchin’s  OneWest operation as a “foreclosure machine” for its actions during the housing crisis, an allegation Mnuchin denied during his January 2017 Treasury secretary confirmation hearings.    OneWest was able to avert some of the penalties that other banks faced during the period and appears to have some type of protection racket.

Foreclosure Crisis Investigation

California Attorney General Brown in 2009 publicly asked mortgage servicers, including OneWest, to  stop the wave of foreclosures devastating California communities. A subpoena was issued by the California attorney general’s office to OneWest’s subsidiary, Financial Freedom Acquisition LLC, later that year, according to a memo recently leaked to The Intercept, website.

According to Bloomberg news, in 2010, OneWest contributed close to the state maximum amount for individuals to the 2010 Democratic gubernatorial campaign for Brown ($25,000), the attorney general campaign for Harris ($6,500), and to the California Democratic Party ($32,400), according to numbers compiled from the National Institute on Money in State Politics. Otherwise, OneWest made no other political contributions.

The 2010 donations to Brown’s campaign were made while he was negotiating with OneWest over its foreclosure practices, according to a press release from the attorney general’s office at the time.

A leaked memorandum from January 2013, states that a formal investigation was opened under Kamala Harris after the Treasury’s Office of Thrift Supervision found issues with OneWest’s foreclosure processes in 2011.  The memorandum also states that no court action was filed “despite strong recommendations,” and that OneWest deliberately obstructed the investigative process. The memo contained accusations of an abusive foreclosure practices such as backdating instruments, dual tracking and speedy foreclosures.

Unlike other banks sanctioned for fraudulent practices, OneWest—which Mnuchin revived from failed California bank Indymac (the largest single bank failure of the mortgage crisis)—was able to avoid major penalties, sanctions or enforcement actions by courts or state and federal agencies for its egregious foreclosure practices.

While other mortgage servicers were investigated by the Treasury Department for a wide range of abuses like robo-signing, dual-tracking, and forced-placed insurance, OneWest walked away unscathed and avoided class-action settlements and sanctions.  Mnuchin and his con-conspirators should have been arrested and tried for their crimes, but instead Mnuchin was instead promoted to Treasury Secretary.

Unlike other banks, it avoided class-action prosecution over force-placed insurance, and the penalties it received from the Treasury’s Independent Foreclosure Review were noticeably insignificant in light of the crime.

Attorneys General Conflicts of Interest

It is problematic when state attorney generals accept political contributions from groups they are investigating and is a clear conflict of interest.  However, political spending is protected under the first amendment as freedom of speech pursuant to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United ruling.  There are bribery rules but those require evidence of a quid pro quo agreement before they can be enforced.  Campaign donations are not covered by legal ethics rules and allow a OneWest scenario to flourish.

California Department of Justice lists conflict-of-interest rules for attorneys general and campaign contributions but only for licensing and permit proceedings.  However, there are federal level standards that permit attorney generals to recuse themselves if they have personal or political relationships with the parties under investigation or prosecution, but they don’t apply to state attorney generals and there are no rules regarding campaign contributions.

The donations to an attorney general’s campaign followed by a decision not to pursue a case parallel the accusations against Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi in 2016 who accepted donations and then declined to investigate Trump University over civil fraud allegations.  Democrat members of the House Judiciary Committee asked US Attorney General Loretta Lynch to investigate donations from the Trump Foundation to Bondi but the investigation was quashed.

It is obvious that there is political maneuvering by way of donations that protect banks like OneWest from the consequences of its behavior and that there are double-standards depending on who you know and who you contribute to.

3 Responses

  1. No one has ever said it better. But please tell me who can help a victim, of all of this fraud? They all want so much money, but who can blame them, but please take it from the big settlement from the bank? They stole all that I had plus more, and besides the credit, no one will loan you the money for a hotdog, cause the banks lied and took it all, please help??

  2. I started an effort to hold elected officials accountable.

    I have emailed each candidate in the election for Congress to replace the new Attorney General in pledge for a moratorium and to investigate funds etc.

    I just put together this site for this election.

    Any input or posts appreciated on above or this site

    This can be a model to tie together local and state/national issues.

  3. Google: “the Fairholme Action”. Federal Judge Margaret Sweeny is revealing Obama robbed all the revenue streams and, in fact, the “loans”, themselves that were once thought to be in portfolios controlled by Fannie and Freddie. Also, visit Tim Howard’s Blog on the subject. F&F were intended to open the franchise of home ownership to minority communities, instead, Obama has displaced millions, from those communities, while robbing their homes in phony foreclosures- Google: 1200 Trillion and derivatives. The Clintons deregged “Glass-Steagall with Gramm, Leach and Bliley to open the curtain on these criminal behaviors; the Clintons then deregged “derivatives”, now there are 1200 trillion owed to these phony scam home repossessions. The banks involved, are fixin’ to saddle the US with their criminal, unsustainable debt. The good news is: their debts are unlawful and We The People must resist, jail the bankers, nationalize the banks and kick them to the curb.

    Fannie and Freddie were created to open home ownership and the American Dream to minorities.

    The Obama Administration, particularly Worn-out, two-tongue Warren, have sold Fannie and Freddie and minority families, to a criminal, central banking cartel…

    President Obama, the Judas Goat…

    Uncle Tom at the tiller of the Big Banker’s Boat.

    Once colored a “donkey” for the DNC vote

    Now sinking, with Warren,

    Two turds that won’t float.

    James Comey was on the executive board of HSBC, an English-Chinese hybrid- Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation, while it was known to be using counterfeit American Mortgages to launder Terror and drug money, for enemies of the US engaged in murdering American soldiers.

    If you’re having a sandwich, call on James Comey;

    When it comes to the Clintons: He’s full of baloney.

    He’s not fixed for a hero

    More : submarine sandwich

    And there’s evidence now he can’t provide for a manwich.

    But his chicken is good

    And while his feathers are yellow,

    The Clintons have plucked him; he’s now boneless and mellow.

    He once was a slaw man but he’s now into a pickle

    While his digestion has turned and his appetite fickle.

    Loretta Lynch and Eric Holder both concealed the fact, James Comey’s Bank was laundering terror and drug money. Eric Holder wrote the “Deferred Prosecution Agreement” listing at least 4 Treasonous violations. One of which is a violation of “Trading With The Enemies Act”.

    At the moment, Obama is “Lynching” the Nation.

    He is now just a scaffold for Clinton Castration.

    He reached within his chest of drawers

    To pack the Bureau with Clinton whores.

    The first of which, Loretta Lynch,

    Is just another Clinton Donkey;

    Grinding DNC organ,

    For the Clinton Monkey.

    And We The People must never forget the HSBC Banker:

    Now FBI Director Comey:

    A peerless Coward and Corruption’s Homey…

    So, PBO thought to himself: “While that monkey’s on Clinton’s back,

    “Let’s hire ourselves an FBI Hack”:

    Loretta the Mule.

    A sterile result for all to see, of Law Enforcement that sits to Pee.

    The thoroughly-bred Mule,

    Now on plantation,

    That won’t raise a hand to save the Nation.

    Both Lynch and Holder concealed the fact Holder’s Law Firm, “Covington-Burling”, created the impossibly corrupt-beyond-belief, phony Electronic Boutique- The “Mortgage Electronic Registration System”. It is used to rob homes in phony foreclosures using counterfeit title.

    There isn’t one, single, legitimate “REMIC Trust” and the contracts, governing those “TRUSTS” (Pooling and Servicing Agreements), are sheer fantasy, while used to allow criminal banking insiders to claim homes that never belonged to them, in the first place (Google: “Bucketeering”)

    Lorretta Lynch and Eric Holder

    Two crimes of inaction; each bolder-than-bolder.

    Eric Holder, held US down while the banksters robbed homes in every town.

    They used the “MERS” to murder our dreams,

    And poison our children through criminal schemes.

    While, not so much as a one, has gone to jail,

    Through Holder’s NONSENSE… Of “Too Big To Fail”-


    Barack Obama is a coward, or worse. Andrew Jackson, for all his faults, set himself directly in the path of the criminal bankers that once tried to destroy this nation as executives in the “2nd National Bank”. The President of the 2nd National Bank, Nicholas Biddle, told Jackson he would destroy his presidency.

    Jackson disarmed one assassin Biddle sent to kill him … personally.
    Biddle died a pauper in prison. Jackson is described as an American Lion, for obvious reasons.

    Barack Obama: no “American Lion”;

    While not quite above, putting the “lie-on”,

    For the crime that is Clinton; Democracy’s Canker

    And the Treason to Britain, as a “Federal … Reservation… Banker”.

    Now, not so much a riddle, while once there was Biddle;

    A “Tubman” to “Jackson”, Obama’s inaction, smacks of coercion and political faction.

    There’s nothing “Left” of Obama,

    While he’s now “Right” in the middle…

    A panned-cake, filled with BS of Bought-and-Sold,

    A nutless brownie, now burned by the griddle.

    Barack Obama is a betrayal of the American People incarnate. He is presently, single-handedly, destroying any chance minority families may ever purchase a home in the US. His theft of “loans” within F&F is merely a part of an intentional, “Boom-and-Bust Cycle” the banks have deliberately disguised as, “The Financial Crisis”.

    Visit the “Fairholme Action” and learn of Federal Judge Margaret Sweeny’s courageous reply to political corruption.

    Obama is a SCAM and the Central Bankers are criminal Filth.

    Visit Tim Howard’s Blog on the investor’s take on how they have been defrauded by the Obama Administration:

    ~ Michael Keane

    reworked- 9/12/16

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