Politicizing Foreclosures or Democratizing the Data

Last week, well before the dismal job numbers made the anemic recovery look even more sickly, the Obama campaign’s housing point man, Shaun Donovan, took credit for the precipitous decline in Nevada foreclosure filings.

In an opinion piece published in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary wrote:

“Thanks to tools this administration has provided, foreclosure filings throughout the state have fallen 67 percent since last April.”


My opinion is that Washington had nothing to do with the decrease in foreclosure activity in Nevada as the secretary claims.

Senate Bill 284
Instead, it was a new Nevada law that sparked the decline. Anybody following the U.S. housing market knows that Nevada passed a new foreclosure law last October, Senate Bill 284, making it a felony to robo-sign foreclosure documents in Nevada. Foreclosures nearly stopped in Nevada after the passage of SB 284 because banks can’t prove that they have a right to foreclose on Nevadans. Felonies are serious charges and most bankers — and their high-priced attorneys — don’t want to go to jail for fraudulently foreclosing on a distressed borrower.

David Dayen, at Firedoglake.com, said “It’s hard to call Donovan’s statement anything but a lie.” And Arthur Delaney, at the Huffington Post, claimed Donovan was distorting the truth.

Foreclosures Fall in Nevada
Nevada foreclosure activity in the first quarter of 2012 decreased 26 percent from the previous quarter and was down 62 percent from the first quarter of 2011, but the state still posted the nation’s top foreclosure rate — one in every 95 Nevada housing units had a foreclosure filing during the first quarter, according to RealtyTrac. Although Nevada had the top foreclosure rate for the quarter, the state’s foreclosure rate slipped to second highest among the states in March, after 62 consecutive months in the No. 1 spot

Readers what do you think? Is the Obama campaign taking too much credit for housing policy they had nothing to do with? Or is it appropriate for the Obama campaign to politicize foreclosure data for partisan gain? What are your thoughts?
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