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Mr. Orange and His Legislative Pets

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June 14, 2008 – Comments (0)

What's the difference between a Fool and a congressman? Well, when I was at Volcom's store opening in NYC the other day, I politely declined the gift bag and the 20% off they wanted to give me on the shirt I purchased for my wife. I figured since I am involved with live Volcom recommendations (as the co-advisor of Hidden Gems), it wouldn't be right, so why not just play things straight?

Congressmen, on the other hand, see no problem in calling in favors from CEOs whose industries they regulate, especially when it can mean saving a few grand. It not only looks bad, it is bad, but the best part is, some of them see nothing wrong with this whatsoever. And we wonder why our country is screwed up?

Or maybe I'm just a sucker. I also save my money and don't borrow more money than I can afford to gamble on houses, then beg for government bailouts...

What can Orange do for you? If you're a senator, plenty.

In 2004, Sen. Kent Conrad was hunting for a lender for a $1.07 million mortgage on his vacation home in Bethany Beach, Del., when an old friend handed him the phone number of Angelo Mozilo.

Conrad (D-N.D.) said yesterday that he sees nothing wrong with calling Mozilo, the chief executive of the nation's largest mortgage lender, Countrywide Financial. And the Senate Budget Committee chairman is adamant that he received no special deals.

But by reaching out to Mozilo, Conrad became another VIP enrolled in the "FOA" -- Friends of Angelo -- loan program.

"[T]ake off 1 point," Mozilo instructed a subordinate in a March 17, 2004, e-mail obtained by Condé Nast Portfolio magazine. In another e-mail that April about a Conrad loan, Mozilo wrote: "Make an exception due to the fact that the borrower is a senator."

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