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Swint calls on Capito to release mortgage details

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Rep. Shelley Moore Capito's Democratic opponent in this fall's election called on her Friday to release the financial terms of mortgages on her properties in Charleston; Washington, D.C.; and Lexington, Va.

Howard Swint, a Charleston real estate broker, made the challenge on the same day that House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, was scheduled to be at Capito's Charleston home for a fundraiser for another Republican candidate.

"On the occasion of the Speaker of the House coming to Charleston to one of these very properties for political purposes, it would be fitting to ask for the disclosure of the mortgages to determine whether preferential terms were provided, especially for those mortgages underwritten previously by Citigroup," Swint said in a news release. Capito's husband, Charles, has worked for Citigroup.

Kent Gates, a Republican political consultant coordinating Capito's re-election campaign, said on Friday, "Congresswoman Capito has complied with all required ethics, financial and mortgage disclosures, as required by federal law.

"She has disclosed all the mortgages that she and Charlie hold," Gates said.

Swint noted that mortgages by members of Congress now have to be reported, after new disclosure requirements were recently enacted.

"Capito serves on the House Financial Services Committee, which is charged with the regulatory oversight of the nation's lending and banking institutions," Swint said in his release. "Prior to the new reporting requirements, below-market personal mortgage terms were an established form of backdoor compensation provided by corporate interests lobbying members of Congress for favorable legislation.

"As a result, mortgages now have to be reported through members' financial disclosures as abuses were identified through investigative reports conducted in the wake of the nation's financial crisis," Swint stated.

Gates said Swint should disclose some parts of his business as well.

"I think a guy who is so focused [Swint], and places such a high priority on disclosure, should disclose the clients in his business, including JPMorgan Chase," Gates said. "They were one of the top recipients in the banking industry of TARP money, that Capito voted against twice."

The Troubled Asset Relief Program was signed into law by President George W. Bush to help banks in financial trouble at the beginning of the recent recession.

The fundraiser at Capito's house Friday was for Rick Snuffer, a state legislator who is running against Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., in the state's 3rd Congressional District. Capito and Swint are running in the state's 2nd Congressional District.

Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjnyden@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.


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