NEW ORLEANS (Legal Newsline) - Democrats are more focused on helping homeowners deal with the country's foreclosure crisis, a recent study ranking state attorneys general shows.
ACORN Financial Justice Center ranked all 51 state attorneys general in the report, released Tuesday, giving the highest marks to a group of six Democrats.
"I am honored to receive this recognition from ACORN for my office's efforts to combat the foreclosure crisis that is devastating our neighborhoods and communities around Illinois," said Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, one of the six.
"I am committed to aggressively investigating predatory and unfair lending practices, and my office will continue to take the most comprehensive steps in assisting troubled homeowners and holding irresponsible lenders accountable for their actions."
ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), the country's largest community organization of low- and moderate-income families, gave A-plusses to Madigan, Connecticut's Richard Blumenthal, Minnesota's Lori Swanson, Iowa's Tom Miller, New York's Andrew Cuomo and Massachusett's Martha Coakley.
All totaled, 18 attorneys general earned at least an A-minus. Sixteen of those were Democrats, with only Republicans Mark Shurtleff of Utah and Rob McKenna of Washington joining them.
Eight Republicans and four Democrats were given F's, while Republican Bob McDonnell of Virginia got the only D.
Those receiving F's were: Alabama's Troy King (R), Alaska's Talis Colberg (R), Hawaii's Mark Bennett (R), Louisiana's Buddy Caldwell (D), Maine's Steven Rowe (D), Montana's Mike McGrath (D), Nebraska's Jon Bruning (R), North Dakota's Wayne Stenehjem (R), Pennsylvania's Tom Corbett (R), South Carolina's Henry McMaster (R), South Dakota's Larry Long (R), and Vermont's William Sorrell (D).
"The reactions that attorneys general have had to the current crisis range from total inaction to all-out efforts using the full complement of available resources to protect borrowers and reform the current system to prevent another crisis in the future," Director Austin King wrote.
ACORN sent a questionnaire to all 51 attorneys general. It focused on nine areas that ACORN feels determine an attorney general's effectiveness fighting trouble in the mortgage market.
Reasons for giving A-plusses to the top six included:
-Authoring legislation to improve state's borrower protections (Miller);
-Establishing a task force on predatory lending and foreclosure assistance (Blumenthal);
-Advocating federal reform (Madigan);
-Filing several cases against predatory lenders and equity strippers (Swanson);
-Settlements that resulted in reforms for Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae (Cuomo); and
-Aggressive legal strategies (Coakley).
ACORN called Coakley's approach against Fremont Investment and Loan perhaps the best example of an aggressive legal strategy.
She won a preliminary injunction against all foreclosure filings on loans that are "presumptively unfair," as defined by Coakley. The injunction requires Fremont to give Coakley 30 days notice prior to a foreclosure.
From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien via e-mail at email@example.com.