September 23rd, 2008
09:07 PM ET

Evening Buzz: FBI Investigating Meltdown

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

"Hello, AIG, this is the FBI." That sort of phone call could happen or may have already taken place. Tonight, sources tell CNN the FBI is investigating America's largest insurer, along with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Lehman Brothers. The question: Are any of them guilty of mortgage fraud?

An FBI spokesman tells CNN 26 firms are currently under investigation. And, earlier this month, FBI director Robert Mueller told Congress that 1,400 individual real estate lenders, brokers and appraisers were under investigation in addition to two dozen corporations.

Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, the $700 billion bailout proposal for financial firms faced with bad mortgages is still under heavy debate - from both sides of the aisle.

"I don't think a single call to my office about his proposal has been positive", said Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. While, Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Kentucky said, "It is financial socialism and it's un-American".

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson doesn't see it that way. He told members of Congress today the bailout money is needed now, and with few strings attached. "I am convinced that his bold approach will cost American families far less than the alternatives", Paulson said.

What are your thoughts on the bailout – deal or no deal?

We're also looking at the so-called "Road to Nowhere". Yes, it's tied to the dead "Bridge to Nowhere" that was supposed to link Ketchikan, Alaska to its airport on Gravina Island. The three-mile road was still built at a cost of $8 million a mile, paid for by your tax dollars. Could Gov. Sarah Palin stopped the road project? We'll tell you what we discovered.

And, wait till see you see the connections Senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden have to Alaska's "Bridge to Nowhere."

All that and more tonight on 360 at 10pm ET.
Hope you can join us.

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Rochelle

    I'm enraged about the idea of the average tax payer bailing out Wall Street for their irresponsible behavior. What about the home owner who took out a 30 year fixed mortgage in 2006 and actually put 20% down on their mortgage and who now has a mortgage worth nearly $100,000 more than their house is appraising at? Bad debt? Yes, this is what has happened to new home owners who took out a responsible mortgage in Southern Florida, California, and Southern Nevada in 2006. Who is going to bail out the responsible home owner who now has bad debt and who never did anything irresponsible? Better to bail out Wall Street's bad debt instead?

    September 23, 2008 at 10:45 pm |
  2. Rosa

    Something does not feel right here. Why the rush without spelling out with detail how to tackle the very problem that created this mess? Why do taxpayers have to pay CEOs? Should their inability to conduct their own business and their irresponsibility towards their own companies be compensated? They have shown that they did care less for the future of these companies and their employees. Now their argument to gain support for the bail out is that jobs could be lost and that the economy is at risk (adding insult to injury). What has happened to our world? Some see themselves as above the law. Well, they are awfully wrong.

    September 23, 2008 at 10:44 pm |
  3. Corinna

    Unless there are more than several indictments and prosecutions that arise from the FBI "looking" into the actions of the bank leaders and AIG, Congress and the ones in charge then this is just fluff.

    September 23, 2008 at 10:40 pm |
  4. Carl

    Well, most of us have heard of the "Golden parachute", but now comes the "Platinum parachute", when the roulette wheel comes up with the "House number" I.E. zero...
    Call uncle sugar, the U.S. taxpayer.
    I am so tired of this "my way or the highway" administration. Maybe our senators just ought to prescribe five tablespoons of caster oil and let the chips fall where they may. Comrade Paulson included.

    September 23, 2008 at 10:38 pm |
  5. Mary A

    Mr Paulson why are you terrorizing the American peoplef, at this time? Republicans seem to come up with some terrorist tactic whenever it benefits the party. Remember weapons of mass destructions? Mr Bush put fear and terror before the people to launch an unecessary war. now this just before the presidentail and representative elections. It is such a dire condition you must have known this before this timetable. I am asking my representative not to vole for this bailout. It is time for the American people to stand up to this abuse and say nomore. I am in a bad way financially so I could use company so come keep me company, we will struggle together and help each other out us like my friends and I are doing now. I want criminals to be brount to justice now.

    September 23, 2008 at 10:36 pm |
  6. Keith

    I'm surprised that obama, being the only candidate with a brain, didn't see all of this coming.

    September 23, 2008 at 10:35 pm |
  7. Jerry C

    I have been watching the testimonies and Q&A sessions on Capitol Hill and I am disgusted at how flimsy the Paulson/Bernanke Bailout plan is. Essentially, Paulson and Bernanke want to send $700 billion to the very same organizations that got us here in the first place with no visibility to the underlying leveraged assets and no clear plans for liquidating the assets to pay the taxpayer back and make them whole. This can put us in a worse off position in 6 months.

    How can Congress and Senate approve of a plan that simply stuff the pockets of those people on Wall St with new cash so they can leave the scene of the crime and allow Americans on Main St holding the bag?

    Why can’t Congress and the Senate approve a plan that deals with each troubled institution? A break up of AIG into 3 separate businesses, Insurance, Asset Management and Financial Services make sense? Perhaps by keeping the healthy AIG insurance business going as a separate entity and liquidate the assets at a discount of the more troubled Financial Services when their values and the asset themselves are made clear. This sounds like a plan backed up by the very same greedy people that have no moral obligations to Main St.

    If Wall St want public money then they need to review their “books” in a clear and orderly manner and this must take time. We should not act impulsively with blinders on. Isn’t the lack of due diligence that put us here in the first place?

    There are very sound businesses out there such as IBM, Microsoft, Mosanto, Proctor and Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, etc. that make needed products and services. They have strong balance sheets and can keep America going. In the short term, this may simply means Wall St will not have a stronger role in the Financial Markets anymore without reorganization, and commercial banks and money centers will have to step up until further regulations and legislation can be put into place.

    September 23, 2008 at 10:34 pm |
  8. frank in illinois

    The baby boom generation is responsible for this finanical mess. As a boomer myself, we are in control of the government and most major corporations. We have never said no to ourselves when spending our own money or no to spending taxpayers money for anything we want. Why start now. Lets spend all the money to bailout anyone who asks for it because we won't be alive to pay for it. It is like the people on the deck of the Titanic singing, drinking champaign and dancing to the band as the ship settles into the sea. Eat, drink and be merry beacuse tomorrow we will die and those after us will pay the piper not us.

    September 23, 2008 at 10:27 pm |
  9. Mary

    This is very alarming. All of a sudden we only have one week to prevent total collaps of the US and perhaps world economic markets? And Paulson is requesting we give them 700 BILLION dollars with NO OVERSIGHT to the administration under who's watch this happened so they can give it to the companies who's greedy, unethical and perhaps illegal practices caused it? This reminds me of the run up to the Iraq war. First scare the crap out of everyone then propose a major assault to "fix" the problem all to push a hidden agenda.

    Dems shouldn't roll over on this, corporate executives should not benefit, individuals with bad mortgages need to get the terms rewritten so they can keep their homes and the American public should have something to show for all that money we are about to throw at the problem. And whatever gets bought better be at a fair value.

    And the Republicans are saying we can't afford healthcare for people. Unbeliveable.

    September 23, 2008 at 10:26 pm |
  10. DanO

    Here we go again, another round of lying, cheating and telling the public what they think we need to hear. I'm sick and tired of it. Nobody is bailing me out of anything I get myself into, so why should these coorporate companies be given special treatment. Let them fail, liquidate any assets and anything of value and move on. I don't have much faith in what our government plans on doing for me anymore, it always seems like more of the same and nothing ever is fixed or the root of the problems solved. Enough is enough....

    September 23, 2008 at 10:26 pm |
  11. EM Thomas

    I see this bail out from a different perspective, since March 2008 – an escalation, first Bear Stern – Government involvement didn't help. Then Freddie and Fannie, and now 700 BILLION DOLLARS, "It's financial socialism and it's un-American." – Isn't this more like a Corporate take over of tax dollars? Socialism? No. Un-American? Hmmm. Corporate take over.

    September 23, 2008 at 10:24 pm |
  12. vic nashville,Tn

    FBI must investigate White House , congress and senate because they are fooling with our Tax money

    September 23, 2008 at 10:23 pm |
  13. Harshi Bains

    Why hast any journalist explained to the american people what 700 billion dollars really means. Surprising number of people do not understand the difference between a million or a billion. My back of napkin calculation states that for a population of 300 million americans, averaging four people in a family (75 million families), this comes to almost ten thousand dollars per family. You can think of it as 10 thousand dollars that could be given to each family or 10 thousand dollars more each family will pay in taxes to pay for this. There is should be a law that all budget items like this should be reported as cost per family that people can understand the gravity of the situation when large costs such as war funding and bailouts are mentioned.
    Dr. H. Bains, Tyler TX

    September 23, 2008 at 10:23 pm |
  14. john van Rooyen

    And what about the culpability of Paulson himself.

    i cannot believe that Americans will fall for this .

    September 23, 2008 at 10:22 pm |
  15. Michelle - St. Louis

    This is the showdown. These politicians need to make a stand and stop this idiotic bailout. Most of us on "mainstreet" have been struggling, barely paying our expenses and dealing with credit problems for YEARS now. I could care less is Walls Street and all the rich fat cats BURN. Let them worry about how they will pay their next bill, let them sleep in their cars, let them worry about their security or how to pay for food for their kids. The government was not there for the BASICS for us – heathcare, a place to live, help in disasters like Katrina, roads, bridges, good schools – just think what could be done with $700 billion dollars. NO DEAL. Don't give it to them. The congress needs to show some GUTS. And now is the time for the presidential candidates to make a real stand, stop dodging the vote and pointing fingers. Lead a revolt against this administration and the CORPorate Fascists who are stealing our country! Stand up for something REAL. Make it happen. Fight for the American people. Its now or never. If this bailout goes through the future of America could be lost.

    September 23, 2008 at 10:19 pm |
  16. Linda from Brooks,Oregon

    Hang the bridge or road to nowhere. If the 700 Billion is such a big thing that could cause a possible world wide crash. Where did our taxes plus over 4 Trillion go to since Bush took office????????

    September 23, 2008 at 10:17 pm |
  17. Elizabeth Leblanc


    Rember the rush to declare war on Iraq instituted by the present administration's lies about the phony weapons of mass destruction.? I do. Let's return to the old values of accepting responsibility for wrongdoing. As my grandmother was wont to say:" You got yourself into it–now get yourself out." Meltdown,huh? I hope Wallstreet meltsdown like the Wicket Witch of the West melted in Oz when Dorothy poured water on her.
    1 Why should my grandchildren have to pay for the pernicious greedy concealment foisted upon us by Wallstreet?

    September 23, 2008 at 10:00 pm |
  18. Jason

    Years of deregulation and a government that has constantly put big business before the American people have all but driven the economy into the ground. I fear that Congress will pass this bill with nothing more than the regular mumbo-jumbo and virtually ensure that my great grand- children will be worse off than I am now. All the while my 401K is barely a 201K. Thanks a bunch Washington!

    September 23, 2008 at 10:00 pm |
  19. Jose

    Here's my bailout plan. There are approximately 300 million people in the U.S. Give each citizen say 2 million dollars each. Put restrictions on it like making it mandatory to pay off mortgages and all other debt. Then with the leftover cash go out and spend. Wouldn't that improve our economy and be alot cheaper than 700 billion dollars?

    September 23, 2008 at 9:51 pm |
  20. Annie Kate

    I wouldn't be at all surprised if fraud isn't found in some of these cases – maybe a lot of them. Maybe those golden parachutes will turn into golden handcuffs.

    I don't know if I'm for or against the bailout; there has been such extreme statements made about either way we go – if we bailout then inflation and a lower value on our dollar; if we don't a bad recession and/or depression and more hurt to innocent taxpayers. I do know that if we do it we are saddling ourselves and our children with a tremendous amount of debt that will probably take forever to pay off. Its been several days now since they have said they had to have a bailout NOW or the market would freeze up – yet it hasn't. Is it possible that its starting to work itself out in the market already? Or are we just living on borrowed time?

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    September 23, 2008 at 9:50 pm |
  21. Keith

    Nope, she could not have stopped it? Don Young(R-Alaska) wrote the bill.

    September 23, 2008 at 9:42 pm |
  22. Ron in Phoenix

    Secretary Paulson seems to be counting on Congress' recognition that something has to be done soon, its inability to craft an alternative proposal in that time frame, and will continue to stonewall their requests for more details and for real answers to their questions (I lost count of how many times he didn't really answer their questions and worse how they accepted his non-answers). I'm afraid the market will continue to decline and they'll blink first giving Paulson the power to do most of what he has asked for.

    September 23, 2008 at 9:40 pm |
  23. Betty, Virginia

    First of I don't trust the same administration that got us into the war in Iraq (trust us, really, we know what's best for you) to now solve the economy problems. I certainly don't want to give them a blank check...

    Secondly, I don't know why MY TAXES need to bail out finance companies (particularly with a clause of unaccountiblity). When my husband and I tried to buy out my brother's morgage when he was being evicted the finance company wouldn't even consider talking to us. In fact, they were beyond rude and certainly didn't care how his circumstances. Why should HIS TAXES bail them out now? He doesn't even have a home anymore. Should I mention the house stands empty over a year later?

    Finally, when my husband and I looked into a foreclosure that was going to auction we called the number listed on a "foreclosure auction" sign. Couldn't get any information – we were told to call the real estate office, call the auction house, call the financial institution... Again, the house is still sitting empty.

    How hard have they tried to help themselves????

    September 23, 2008 at 9:39 pm |
  24. kathie

    Hallelulia!! It's about time someone didn't just accept what the Bush administration presents as fact! We've been down that road before and still don't know how we are going to recover from it.

    September 23, 2008 at 9:11 pm |