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Lawyer Michael Avenatti arrested on a domestic violence charge. Also on the Thursday rundown: more testimony on the anti-protest bill; plus we will take you to the Dakotas to celebrate American Education Week.

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Report: Mortgage Meltdown Tied to Lending Industry Influence in Congress

September 29, 2008

Washington, D.C. – A new report traces a money trail leading directly from the nationwide mortgage meltdown to the current national financial crisis. Twenty-five percent of the sub-prime mortgages issued in Ohio in 2006 are now ending in foreclosure, and according to the non-partisan public interest group, Common Cause, the lending industry's contributions and lobbying can be connected to delays on Congressional measures that could have helped avert the crisis.

Study author Mike Surrosco says the problem is a systemic one.

"This is an industry that has had a lot of influence in Congress and that has lead to less regulation of the industry. Essentially we've driven off of a cliff now."

Surrosco adds that one way to break the connection between special-interest campaign donations and Congress--whether the influence is real or perceived--would be to change the way elections are funded.

"Clean elections, voter-owned elections, publicly financed elections would raise money from a pool for candidates instead of having to go fundraise."

According to the report, Ohio members of Congress have received more than $400,000 in contributions from mortgage bankers and brokers combined since the 2000 election cycle. The influence of campaign donations is usually denied by those elected to office.

The report can be found at www.commoncause.org.

Mary Kuhlman/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OH