Harris touts mortgage settlement in DNC speech

Jessica M. Karmasek Sep. 6, 2012, 1:50pm


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Legal Newsline) - California Attorney General Kamala Harris, in her speech Wednesday night at the Democratic National Convention, touted the $25 billion nationwide mortgage settlement her and 48 other state attorneys general helped negotiate earlier this year.

Harris, who was considered instrumental in getting the deal done, also didn't forget to give credit to President Barack Obama.

"President Obama stood with me and 48 other attorneys general in taking on the banks and winning $25 billion for struggling homeowners," she told the crowd.

"That's leadership! That's what President Obama did. And that's why we need to give him another four years."

She continued, "We need to move forward. President Obama will fight for working families. He will fight to level the economic playing field and fight to give every American the same fair shot my family had."

In February, the Obama administration joined the attorneys general in reaching an agreement with Wells Fargo and Co., JPMorgan Chase and Co., Citigroup Inc., Ally Financial Inc. and Bank of America Corp. over their alleged improper foreclosure practices.

Of the $25 billion, California claimed the largest portion of the pot -- $18 billion.

Harris had departed from the negotiations last September, when relief for the state was estimated at only $4 billion.

The attorney general, at the time, called the proposed deal "inadequate," and insisted on more relief for distressed homeowners, meaningful enforcement and the ability of state attorneys general to pursue investigations into misconduct.

"This outcome is the result of an insistence that California receive a fair deal commensurate with the harm done here," Harris said later of the nationwide settlement.

The attorney general, who is a huge supporter of Obama, told the crowd Wednesday that the choice between Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is "clear."

"The fact is, we don't have to guess what Mitt Romney would have done if he were president. Because he told us. He said we should let foreclosures -- and I quote -- 'hit the bottom' so the market could 'run its course.'

"Run its course. That's not leadership. Doing nothing while the middle class is hurting. That's not leadership. Loose regulations and lax enforcement. That's not leadership. That's abandoning our middle class."

For the complete text and video of Harris' speech, click here.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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