WASHINGTON — Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey rejected on Thursday the idea of creating a national task force to combat the country’s mortgage fraud crisis, calling the problem a localized one akin to “white-collar street crimes.”Absolutely (and Mukasey admits later in the story that this is different from Enron; well, he got that much right anyway).
Mr. Mukasey made clear that he saw the mortgage fraud problem at the root of the nation’s housing crisis as a serious one. But he said he was confident that the Justice Department’s current approach — using local prosecutors’ offices around the country to oversee separate F.B.I. investigations — was adequate.
“This is disappointing,” Representative Barney Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat who leads the House financial services committee, said in an interview about Mr. Mukasey’s remarks.
Calling the mortgage crisis, “worse than Enron,” Mr. Frank said, “Enron didn’t cause a worldwide recession. This has more innocent victims.”
Mukasey also referred to the mortgage collapse as “white-collar street crime.” What, does that mean we can look forward to a shiv duel between Angelo “Walking Death” Mozilo and Stanley “White Murder” O’Neal? Or dueling Glocks at 20 paces?
And in the best capitalist tradition, you can rest assured that contrition is nowhere in sight for these robber barons, as noted in this story where they testified before the House Committee on Government and Oversight Reform last March.
And concerning some of the individuals in the Enron task force, this Houston Chronicle story notes that some of these lawyers have used that experience as spring boards of a sort into both appointed and elected government offices as well as private practice.