Watchdog group demands investigation of MBA head

by Ryan Smith29 Feb 2016
A watchdog group is asking the federal government to investigate the head of the Mortgage Bankers Association, according to a new report.

The National Legal and Policy Center, a group that promotes ethics in public life, announced Monday that it had made requests for both the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia and the Inspector General of the Department of Housing and Urban Development to investigate David H. Stevens, president and CEO of the MBA.

The NLPC alleges that Stevens may have violated a statutory one-year ban on having contact with the government agency at which he formerly worked, the Federal Housing Administration, as well as the lifetime ban on having contact with officials on matters on which he worked while employed by the government.

“At issue is Stevens’ apparent quarterbacking of a campaign by the big banks to win mortgage lending business from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the wake of the financial crisis, and the placement of the two Government Sponsorted Enterprises (GSEs) in conservatorship,” stated a post on the NPLC website. The NLPC requests for investigation allege that there may be more than 25 instances in which Stevens violated the law.

“This is the most egregious instance of revolving door abuse that I have seen in some years,” said NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm. “Even by Washington’s current low standards, Stevens was particularly brazen in apparently ignoring the pertinent statutes and ethics regulations.”
MBA spokesman John T. Mechem denied the allegations and issued a strong rebuke to the NLPC.

“Dave Stevens and the Mortgage Bankers Association are scrupulous about our legal and ethics compliance obligations,” Mechem said. “From the moment Dave was first contacted by MBA regarding potential employment, he initiated regular meetings with the General Counsel and Designated Ethics Official of the Department of Housing & Urban Development to ensure he completely understood the applicable federal laws and the Obama Administration voluntary policies related to post-employment activities.  Both Dave and MBA have followed those laws and policies without deviation.

“…We believe these unfounded allegations are part of a concerted campaign concocted by a group who apparently have a financial incentive to discredit Dave and MBA's efforts to advocate on behalf of our members for secondary mortgage market reform,” Mechem added. “Opposing MBA's policy views is one thing, but engaging in false personal attacks is reprehensible.”



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