An article in the New York Post over the weekend claims that organizations dedicated to the so-called “anti-Trump Resistance” are being funded by the still-moving machinations of former President Barack Obama.
Writer Paul Sperry leveled those charges based off of records related to multiple mortgage settlement funds administered by Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) officials.
Following the subprime mortgage crisis of 2007-2010, the federal government–via the Department of Justice (“DOJ”)–entered into settlement agreements with many Too Big To Fail banks who were caught betting against homeowners through the creation and sale of residential-mortgage-backed securities (“RMBS”) while simultaneously and knowingly creating and issuing toxic mortgages for years and years until the whole scheme fell apart.
Those settlements ultimately totaled in excess of 70 billion dollars.
Out of that massive pot of settlement funds, roughly $640 million was funneled to third-party organizations with no ostensible stake in the role that RMBS and toxic mortgages played in devastating the U.S. economy, according to Sperry.
One of those organizations is UnidosUS, formerly known as the National Council of La Raza. UnidosUS is a Latinx advocacy group which was founded in 1968. According to their website, “UnidosUS advocates for Latinos in the areas of civic engagement, civil rights and immigration, education, workforce and the economy, health, and housing.”
Sperry refers to UnidosUS with the shorthand version of their former moniker. He claims “La Raza” is a “radical organization” with a storied “history of promoting illegal immigration and advocating for welfare benefits and even driver’s licenses for undocumented Latino immigrants.”
UnidosUS advocated against the repeal of Obamacare and is opposed to Trump’s deportation regime and proposed border wall. The organization also works closely with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. According to Sperry, UnidosUS has received at least $1.5 million from the mortgage settlement funds.
Another organization cited by Sperry is the National Urban League, a civil rights group which advocates for the interests of African Americans and against racial discrimination. The Urban League was founded in 1910 as the National League on Urban Conditions Among Negroes. According to their website, “[t]he mission of the Urban League movement is to enable African Americans to secure economic self-reliance, parity, power and civil rights.”
The Urban League similarly opposed the efforts of the GOP to repeal and replace Obamacare. In an email blast sent out to supporters, they noted that “African-Americans stand to be disproportionately impacted,” by the Republican Party’s efforts to dismantle Barack Obama’s signature domestic legislation. The Urban League has apparently received $1.2 million from HUD settlement funds, according to Sperry.
The final organization accused of receiving “slush” funds from the mortgage crisis settlements is the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (“NCRC”). Founded in 1990, the NCRC describes itself as “providing training and technical assistance, research and policy analyses and other resources to more than 600 community-based member organizations, assisting them as they expand access to basic banking services including credit and savings, to create and sustain affordable housing, job development for low- and moderate-income communities.”
According to Sperry, however, the housing rights organization cannot be trusted to properli tuny allocate their share of mortgage settlement funds because the agreements themselves have no enforcement mechanism. Apparently poisoning the well here is the NCRC’s cool reception to the Trump administration’s tax reform efforts and outright opposition to conservative attempts to privatize the semi-public mortgage institutions Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The NCRC has also lobbied against repealing the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act–a GOP priority.
According to Sperry, the NCRC has received at least $2.6 million in mortgage settlement funds.
The article doesn’t mention where the additional $634.7 million out of the so-called “slush fund” has been diverted but claims the DOJ still forces bad actor banks to make such third-party payments.
Sperry’s charges stem from an earlier report by the Cause of Action Institute, a right-wing public interest law firm and non-profit which claims to use “public advocacy and legal reform tools to ensure greater transparency in government, protect taxpayer interests and promote economic freedom.”
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