Yves Smith pointed out last month that congressional bill H.R. 3808 is an attempt to paper over rampant criminality by the big banks regarding forged mortgage documents:
We are seeing more recognition of the consequences of this [widespread problem] , which in more polite company might be called, “My dog ate your mortgage.”
One sighting (hat tip 4ClosureFraud) is the effort by the Ohio Secretary of State to enlist support against a proposed measure to allow for electronic notarizations. The Secretary hints strongly that this measure being put forward is directly related to the revelation of affidavit improprieties, which further suggests that the banks might regard this as a remedy for this particular, um, lapse:
H.R. 3808 is known as the “Interstate Recognition of Notarizations Act.” It passed the House under a suspension of the rules in April 2010. It requires federal and state courts to recognize any notarization that is lawful in the state where the notary is licensed. Now, in one day, it passed in the Senate.
When I learned of it last Thursday, it sounded innocuous to me, but then I started looking at the timing of the bill. GMAC, owned by Ally, had just suspended its foreclosure actions in 23 states, including Ohio. I had already referred Chase Home Finance, LLC, on August 23, 2010, to the U.S. Department of Justice, asking it to review and investigate Chase’s document notarization practices in home foreclosures (18,000 documents per month were being notarized by 8 people, along with other irregularities). I license notaries in the State of Ohio. Even though I don’t have the power under state law to investigate or prosecute, I couldn’t stand idly by without acting. That’s why I’m asking you to email or call the President at 202-456-1111 to ask him not to sign the bill.
Last Wednesday, the day before I announced the DOJ referral, JPMorgan Chase announced it was having third party counsel review its document procedures for foreclosures. Just two days before, the U.S. Senate had rushed through H.R. 3808. Something didn’t seem right. Since then others agree with me.
Yves here. This development reveals how this battle is likely to play out. Now that judges in some states are starting to take these dubious, potentially fraudulent measures seriously, the next line of attack is to get the more bought and paid for Federal government to intercede on behalf of the banks. As the e-mail by the Ohio Secretary shows, this is a state versus Federal rights issue. And the problem is that these solutions will be depicted as “efficient,” just as securitizations and other “innovations” were.
And while efficiency in theory is a good thing, it must always be kept secondary to the overall integrity of the system, otherwise, you run the risk of breakdown. Using dubious arguments to overturn well settled law to get the banking industry out of a monster mess it created is a Faustian bargain. It makes it abundantly clear what is really at stake here, which is the rule of law. Banks that were quick to defend unjustifiable pay deals by invoking “sanctity of contract” have no inhibition about ignoring their own contracts to pad their bottom line, and ultimately, the wallets of top executives.
Rather than deal with the considerable consequences of these abuses, the banks are prepared to bulldoze well settled state laws to give them an easy way out. And I’m not basing my view on this story alone; I had a conversation yesterday with a Congressional staffer who matter-of-factly said (but with little understanding of the underlying issues) that Congress would intervene on behalf of the industry, via its authority over national banks.
The result is that we institutionalize kleptocracy while keeping largely gutted forms of due process as theater. The powers that be hope that the broad public will remain unaware of what is really at work.
Congress passed H.R. 3808 by a secret voice vote so that the names of the congress members voting for it wouldn’t be recorded. For example, as shown by the official government webpage:
4/27/2010 Passed/agreed to in House: On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill Agreed to by voice vote.
Using that unusual procedure, the Congress critters were hoping to avoid public shaming.
Obama vetoed H.R. 3808, but today, Congress will try – again by secret vote – to retroactively legalize foreclosure fraud and forgery by the big banks.
(You can watch the vote live here.)
Specifically, as 4ClosureFraud reports:
to require any Federal or State court to recognize any notarization made by a notary public licensed by a State other than the State where the court is located when such notarization occurs in or affects interstate commerce
2:14 P.M. –
VETO MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT – The Chair laid before the House the veto message from the President on H.R. 3808.
2:13 P.M. –
Mr. Scott (VA) asked unanimous consent That, when a veto message on H.R. 3808 is laid before the House on the legislative day of today, then after the message is read and the objections of the President are spread at large upon the Journal, further consideration of the veto message and the bill shall be postponed until the legislative day of Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2010; and that on that legislative day, the House shall proceed to the constitutional question of reconsideration and dispose of such question without intervening motion. Agreed to without objection.
Looks like it is time for another crash course on how this works…
Veto Override Procedure in the House and Senate
A bill or joint resolution that has been vetoed by the President can become law if two-thirds of the Members voting in the House and the Senate each agree to pass it over the President’s objection. The chambers act sequentially on vetoed measures; the House acts first on House-originated measures (H.R. and H.J. Res.) and the Senate acts first on Senate-originated measures (S. and S.J. Res.). If the first-acting chamber fails to override the veto, the measure dies and the other chamber does not consider it. The House typically considers the question of overriding a presidential veto under the hour rule, with time customarily controlled and allocated by the chair and ranking member of the committee with jurisdiction over the bill. The Senate usually considers the question of overriding a veto under the terms of a unanimous consent agreement.
Voting in the House
To override a veto, two-thirds of the Members voting, a quorum being present, must agree to repass the bill over the President’s objections. The Constitution requires that the vote be by the “yeas and nays,” which in the modern House means that Members’ votes will be recorded through the electronic voting system. The vote on the veto override is final because, in contrast to votes on most other questions in the House, a motion to reconsider the vote on the question of overriding a veto is not in order.
Full rules below…
Check back for updates…
UPDATE: JUST CONFIRMED WITH THE BILL’S SPONSOR STAFF IN WASHINGTON DC AND THERE WILL BE A VOTE TO OVERRIDE OR UPHOLD THE PRESIDENTS VETO WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 17, 2010.
GET ON THE PHONES AND CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVES NOW AND TELL THEM TO UPHOLD THE PRESIDENTS VETO!