Bachmann takes more heat for blaming minorities

Minneapolis Rep. Keith Ellison took offense to Rep. Michele Bachmann's comment last week when she blamed the financial crisis on a 30-year-old law that tried to fix racist redlining by lenders. And this issue just won't seem to go away as Bachmann spoke out in defense of her remarks and the Congressional Black Caucus demands answers. She doesn't want anyone to think she's racist. Read the back story on Blotter.

Last week, Democrats and those critical of Bachmann were furious when she said a federal program that gave home mortgage loans “on the basis of race and often on little else" was to blame for the banking crisis.

According to a Roll Call article on a Thursday hearing about the investment firms, Bachmann put some putting strong accusations into public record:

Bachmann kicked up a controversy on Thursday when she pinned the mess on former President Bill Clinton (yawn) and minorities (now Democrats are listening).

During an otherwise mundane hearing on the federal takeover of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, Republicans, specifically Bachmann, focused on Clinton’s administration and its push to provide loans to low-income minorities as a key reason for the downfall of the housing market.

The Clinton administration turned Freddie and Fannie into a “semi-nationalized monopoly,” Bachmann argued. Specifically, that administration decided to make loans through the Community Reinvestment Act “on the basis of race and often on little else.” Backpedaling on the controversial comments, Bachmann later added that the law was “well-intentioned” because ensuring that minorities have access to housing is important.

Here is the video of her statement:

On Friday, 31 members of the Congressional Black Caucus signed a letter that said Bachmann’s claims are “ridiculous” and asked Boehner whether her comments represent the views of the Republican Caucus:

It is clear from Rep. Bachmann’s comments that she believes that the bipartisan laws enacted over the past decade ensuring that minority communities have equal access to banking and other financial services are the cause of this financial situation... Shifting the blame for the current economic crisis to laws that allow equal access and opportunities to communities of color is ridiculous...

As members of the CBC, we simply ask if Rep. Bachmann’s position that it was lending to minority communities that caused the current financial crisis, represent the position of Republican Caucus?

Read the full letter at ThinkProgress.

On Saturday, she countered those accusations and clarified her remarks:

“It was an unfair characterization of my remarks,” she said of a published item in Roll Call newspaper. “I read a portion of an article critical of the Community Reinvestment Act, which I’m not a fan of. They were not my words.”

Ellison countered with this statement:

I personally am not going to just sit by and let people trash programs that helped folks get into housing who have been struggling to get in.

Fannie and Freddie — I don’t think are failed models. CRA certainly isn’t a failed program. These are important and good programs and should be protected. And If you want to find blame somewhere, let’s look at Gramm-Leach-Bliley. Let’s look at the very deregulation that so many people called for and clamor for and now we see what deregulation, lack of corporate responsibility put together with flat declining wages for the American people will bring about. It’s brought about this.

Well, at least Ann Coulter is on Bachmann's side. In her latest column, Coulter says:

A decade later, the housing bubble burst and, as predicted, food-stamp-backed mortgages collapsed. Democrats set an affirmative action time-bomb and now it's gone off.

Now, at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars, middle-class taxpayers are going to be forced to bail out the Democrats' two most important constituent groups: rich Wall Street bankers and welfare recipients.

Political correctness had already ruined education, sports, science and entertainment. But it took a Democratic president with a Democratic congress for political correctness to wreck the financial industry.

Oh what a mess. We can't wait to see Bachmann dig herself out of this one. Maybe she will further bury herself during the debate tonight. If she shows up.

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