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Baldwin Applauds Creation of Mortgage Crisis Unit in the Dept. of Justice


Location: Washington, DC

"As one who has been urging Attorney General Eric Holder to hold accountable those big banks and lenders that perpetrated mortgage fraud on millions of homeowners, I am pleased that President Obama is creating a new Mortgage Crisis Unit in the Department of Justice to investigate misconduct and illegal activities.

I have great respect for New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman who will head up this unit to expand our investigations into the abusive lending and packaging of risky mortgages that led to the housing crisis. He shares my conviction that fraudulent lenders must publicly accept responsibility for their actions and that mortgage holders whom they cheated should be made whole.

I repeat my call to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to deny fraudulent lenders broad immunity in any settlement deal. I urge him to ensure that Mr. Schneiderman has all the tools necessary to conduct a full investigation, including subpoena power, so we can reveal how and why the housing crisis happened and prevent it from happening again. If broad immunity is granted to mortgage servicers, their appalling behavior goes unpunished and they will continue to behave as if they are above the law. The American principle of equal justice under the law must apply to all, not just to some."

Congresswoman Baldwin has been leading the fight in Congress to see that the victims of fraudulent bank practices be adequately compensated and that the banks be held accountable for their actions. In November 2011, she introduced House Concurrent Resolution 85 stating that any action taken by the U.S. Department of Justice should fully investigate fraudulent mortgage and foreclosure practices, deny criminal or civil immunity for potential wrongdoing by mortgage servicers, and appropriately compensate victims of those servicers' fraudulent behavior.

Baldwin expressed her concerns in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Holder in early November and, the following month, sent a letter to Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen asking that he reject any settlement that grants Wall Street banks broad immunity from prosecution, ends investigations into the meltdown, or fails to adequately compensate those homeowners who have been defrauded.

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