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Corrupt Companies Make Fools of Other Americans

Companies like Countrywide Credit gave "VIP" loan treatment to Senators like Kent Conrad and Chris Dodd. Of course, those two Senators sat on committees that decided how mortgage companies like Countrywide should be regulated. So said former Countrywide employee, Robert Feinbeg, about then prevailing "patterns and practices." Such people were called internally FOA's (Friends of Angelo (Mozilo, the company's chairman)).

We don't want to be making excuses for the Senators. But the bribe giver is always more guilty than the bribe taker. The receiver has a certain amount of "deniability," that s/he misunderstood, was taken off guard, etc. The bribe giver has none of the above. Bribery is a deliberate and premeditated act.

There is a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act that makes it illegal for people to bribe foreign officials to affect their performanace of government functions. A similar law should apply within our borders. And even that has a major loophole. There's nothing to say that you can't pay an official's spouse, child, best friend, to lobby that official.

Companies that try to do this believe that Americans are fools. That belief, unfortunately, is not unfounded; P.T. Barnum opined, :"there is a sucker born every minute" (in America). But some day, people, particularly Congressmen, willl get tired of being taken for fools. Then the companies will find out who the real fools are.