Mikulski on Mortgage Fraud

Mikulski statement

Mikulski includes additional DOJ and FBI funds in CJS Appropriations Bill to track down and prosecute perpetrators of mortgage fraud

December 14, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), Chairwoman of the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Subcommittee, announced that the Omnibus Appropriations Act filed today provides increased funds and resources to track down and prosecute perpetrators of mortgage and financial fraud.

“It’s time to foreclose on the bad guys and stop the foreclosures on homes,” Chairwoman Mikulski said. “I, like most Americans, am outraged by the predatory practices, deceptive marketing and lending schemes that have swept across the country – especially in Maryland.”

Mortgage fraud is on the rise and FBI cites it as the most significant financial threat under its jurisdiction. More than 67,000 cases of mortgage fraud were reported in 2009, an 869 percent increase since 2002. During that same time, resources to uncover and prosecute financial fraud were thinned as funding and personnel shifted to national security efforts after 9/11.

The fiscal year 2011 CJS bill includes $949 million for the Justice Department to combat financial fraud – a $101 million increase over last year. That translates into an additional $75 million for the FBI to fight mortgage and financial fraud. The FBI will have a total of $454 million to expand FBI Mortgage Fraud Task Forces across the country, to hire 143 new special agents and recruit 45 new forensic accountants and analysts to increase its field investigative capacity and ability to conduct complex financial investigations.

“I want people to know that the government is on their side,” Chairwoman Mikulski said. “We want all those who are just trying to keep their heads above water and buy a home to know that when they go to get a loan, they are dealing with honest, reputable dealers.”

Chairwoman Mikulski has led Senate efforts to put more funding in the federal checkbook to go after perpetrators of financial fraud. She secured $10 million in the 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act for the FBI to hire at least 25 new special agents to investigate mortgage fraud. At the time, it was the first and only federal funding for law enforcement specifically dedicated to cracking down on mortgage fraud. She followed up with $35 million in the 2009 Supplemental appropriations bill to hire an additional 30 agents dedicated to mortgage fraud and another $75 million in the 2010 appropriations bill to hire 50 new agents and 60 new forensic accountants to investigate complex financial investigations.

Rasmussen: Mikulski 54%, Wargotz 39%

Creative Commons License photo credit: mdfriendofhillary

Rasmussen Reports

The latest Rasmussen Reports statewide telephone survey of Likely Voters shows Mikulski picking up 54% of the vote, while Wargotz earns 38% support. Four percent (4%) prefer some other candidate in the race, and another four percent (4%) are undecided. These results are nearly identical to those found in August, when Mikulski held a 55% to 39% edge over Wargotz. The Democrat held a 25-point lead in July. This race remains Solid Democrat in the Rasmussen Reports Election 2010 Senate Balance of Power rankings. [...] Mikulski is backed by 79% of Democrats, while Wargotz draws support from 75% of Republicans. Wargotz holds a 10-point lead among voters not affiliated with either major political party. The survey of 750 Likely Voters in Maryland was conducted on September 15, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC.

More detailed results can be found in the poll’s toplines.

Rasmussen: Mikulski up 55-39 on Wargotz

Rasmussen Reports via Pollster.com

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Maryland Voters finds that Mikulski earns 55% of the vote, while Eric Wargotz, a doctor and county commissioner, gets 39% support. Three percent (3%) like some other candidate, and another three percent (3%) are undecided.

Last month, Mikulski posted a 58% to 33% lead over Wargotz. In February, Mikulski earned 54% support when matched against an unnamed generic Republican candidate who won 36% of the vote.

Since a poll by Rasmussen a few months ago had a generic Republican at 36%, I assume the polling would have been similar if any of the other 10 Republicans running had been plugged in to Wargotz’s place - but I also would like to have seen numbers for the primary if they exist right now. I don’t think Rasmussen’s presumption that Wargotz will be the standard-bearer in the fall is necessarily accurate (I don’t think it’s inaccurate either at this point - I think the information is incomplete until I see scientific polling data that says otherwise.)

I also have to assume Rasmussen polled to determine who the “best-known” Republican was, but none of his poll’s toplines include any questions related to that.

Granted, Mark Newgent doesn’t seem to be that enthralled with Wargotz either.

Not that much of this matters. Unless something major shakes things up, Mikulski will likely cruise to an easy re-election.

Mikulski, Cardin Announce Nearly $400,000 in Federal Funding for Rockville Volunteer Fire Department

Mikulski release


CONTACT: Press Office
Mikulski, Cardin Announce Nearly $400,000 in Federal Funding for Rockville Volunteer Fire Department

Click here for

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Benjamin L. Cardin (both D-Md.) today announced the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department has been awarded $399,632 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFGP). Senator Mikulski is on the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the AFGP and fights each year to increase its federal funding. Senator Cardin is a member of the Budget Committee, which each year sets priorities for funding to federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security.

“I know how important this funding is to Maryland communities – often it’s the difference between life and death. First responders protect our homes and communities, and the federal government has a responsibility to protect them by providing them with the tools they need to do their jobs safer and smarter,” said Senator Mikulski. “Every day when our first responders report for duty, they don’t know what they will face. That’s why I fight every year for the equipment, training, and staffing our protectors and communities deserve.”

Senator Cardin said, “First responders have always been on the front lines, keeping our families and our neighborhoods safe from harm. I thank these brave men and women for their continuing service and sense of duty to our community. I am proud to support federal investment through local grants like this, which is essential to ensure our community heroes have the equipment and training they need to do their jobs safely and efficiently.”

The Rockville Volunteer Fire Department was awarded $399,632 under the Operations & Safety section of the AFGP, and will utilize the funds to pay for firefighting gear, radio equipment and training. For more information, please contact Eric Bernard, Executive Director of the Montgomery County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association, at 301-424-1297.

AFGP grants fund firefighting equipment, personal protection equipment, training, firefighting vehicles, firefighter/first responder safety projects, and staffing recruitment and retention, as well as public fire safety education. Since 2001, Maryland fire departments and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) units have received over $81 million in AFGP funding, over $8 million of which has gone to fire departments and EMS units in Montgomery County.

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Mikulski announces funds for Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Park in Dorchester County

Mikulski release

CONTACT: Press Office
Mikulski Announces Funds in the Federal Checkbook for Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park in Dorchester CountyClick here for

Park will honor legacy of Harriet Tubman; support tourism jobs on the Eastern Shore

CAMBRIDGE, MD – U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) today announced $462,650 in federal funding for the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park in Dorchester County. The funds were included in the fiscal year 2010 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill. Senator Mikulski also announced she has requested $500,000 in this year’s annual transportation and housing funding bill to continue work on the Park.

“Harriet Tubman was a courageous fighter who delivered hundreds of slaves to freedom on her Underground Railroad,” Senator Mikulski said. “She was tireless in her commitment to fight for those who could not fight themselves. I am proud to announce funds for this Park to honor her memory.”

These funds will be used to design and construct the Park’s visitor center and recreational facilities, including a memorial garden with informational exhibits, walking paths, bike facilities, an access road, parking for buses and cars, and well and wastewater treatment.

Once complete, the new historical park is expected to attract an additional 200,000 visitors to the area each year, supporting tourism jobs on the Eastern Shore. Tourism is the fourth largest industry in Maryland.

“Part of freedom is economic opportunity and security,” Senator Mikulski said. “This park is also about creating and sustaining jobs on the Eastern Shore.”

Senator Mikulski, Senator Benjamin L. Cardin and Congressman Frank Kratovil, Jr., (all D-Md.) worked together to put the funds in the federal checkbook. In addition to the funds announced today, they won $475,000 for the project in fiscal year 2009, bringing the total in federal funds for the project to almost $1 million to date.

Senator Mikulski is a co-sponsor of the The Harriet Tubman National Historical Park and The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park Act, which when passed will officially establish this park within the National Park Service to honor the life of Harriet Ross Tubman, the most famous “conductor” of the anti-slavery resistance network known as the Underground Railroad.

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress,” Senator Mikulski said. “Harriet Tubman knew that, and so do I. Her legacy continues to inspire me and I am proud to fight every day for the freedom and equality she dedicated her life to.”

Harriet Tubman was born in Dorchester County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. At the age of 27, she escaped from slavery and created the Underground Railroad, helping slaves travel northward to freedom. After the Civil War, she settled in Auburn, New York, where the Harriet Tubman Historical National Park has been created in her honor.

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