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ProPublica’s HAMP Reporting Discussed in Congressional Hearing

Regular readers know that our reporting team has produced dozens of stories about the failures of the Obama Administration’s loan modification program (HAMP) to help homeowners. What we didn’t know is that TARP special inspector general Neil Barofsky was one of them. Since HAMP is run as part of the $700 billion bailout, it’s been part of his job to oversee the program.

In a Congressional hearing earlier this week, Barofsky was asked if he was familiar with our loan mod homeowner questionnaire, which revealed the experiences of hundreds of homeowners who’d applied for a mortgage modification. “I am familiar with ProPublica's survey,” Barofsky said, adding, “we cited it in….one of our recent quarterly reports.”

The questionnaire was mentioned earlier this week in a Washington Times column, which extrapolated our results to estimate that half a million loan mod applicants had been “duped into delinquency” -- told to fall behind in their payments in order to qualify for a modification. When asked about that estimate, Barofsky responded, “I can’t speak on whether that estimate is correct or not. But it doesn’t surprise me.”

We appreciate your candor, special inspector general, and hope you’ll continue to keep an Eye on Loan Modifications.

Mike Webb

Mike Webb was the vice president/communications of ProPublica. He is a veteran communications specialist with experience in public relations, marketing, sales and campaign work at media companies, think tanks, political organizations and in the entertainment business.

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