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Corruption Chronicles

Defaulted Home Loans Fund Lawmaker’s Campaigns

A California congresswoman who happens to be a Hillary Clinton super delegate got nearly $200,000 for her political campaigns by borrowing against three separate homes whose loans she later defaulted on.

Laura Richardson, who represents parts of Los Angeles County’s poorest black neighborhoods in the state House, allowed the three properties to foreclose after using them to get the cash to finance her political career. Two of the houses are located in southern California—San Pedro and Long Beach—and the third is in Sacramento.

Last week a local newspaper broke the story that Richardson had defaulted on the loans, falling behind nearly $20,000 on one of them by March and $12,400 on another. She owed nearly $600,000 on the Sacramento house when it went into foreclosure this spring. She also owes the state nearly $10,000 in property taxes.

The borrowed money went to Richardson’s Assembly campaign ($100,000) in the summer of 2006 and her congressional campaign ($77,500) a year later. She is a former Long Beach councilwoman who went on to work for Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante before getting elected to the California Assembly in 2006 and the state House last year. Her web site claims that she has had an amazing “meteoric rise” and notes that she was the first African-American woman to hold the prestigious Assembly position.

The politician’s explanation for the disgraceful financial hole she has dug for herself is quite amusing. She says that she is “not financially wealthy” or a millionaire and therefore any American would understand what that does in terms of a person’s financial stability.

Actually, most Americans survive without her lucrative government salary which has been six figures for years. Certainly, her constituents in the county’s rundown black and Hispanic neighborhoods don’t have those incomes. As a member of California’s Congress, Richardson’s annual salary is $169,300 and as a member of the Assembly she made $116,000 a year plus expenses to live at the state capital in Sacramento.


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