Like Gibbs on “NCIS,” I don’t believe in coincidences. So I find it more than a little odd that just as news was beginning to break about the extent of the foreclosure-fraud crisis nationwide and the role that forged and/or fraudulently-notarized documents may have played in the fraud, the following thing happened:
On Monday, September 27, 2010, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), on the Senate floor, asked that the Judiciary Committee be discharged from further consideration of a bill that would hurt consumers. H.R. 3808 requires federal and state courts to recognize notarized documents from other states, including ones that contain electronic notarizations that are not subject to the same consumer safeguards of documents notarized in person. Some financial institutions are using electronic notarizations to process home foreclosure documents.
Sen. Casey asked that the Senate move forward with immediate consideration of the bill with unanimous consent that the bill pass with no other action or debate. The Senate passed the bill without amendment by unanimous consent. It now sits on the President’s desk.
In ordinary times, in times in which we have no reason to doubt the validity of legal documents in general (and foreclosure documents in particular), this measure would be unobjectionable, a means of reconciling centuries-old legal proceedings with 21st-century technology.
But these are not ordinary times. They are times in which fraud on a world-historical scale is running rampant. And if President Obama signs H.R. 3808 into law, the crisis will grow an order of magnitude worse.
I’ve written the president asking him to veto the bill. You can do the same here or call 202-456-1111. The president needs to veto the bill, and any similar measures that might land on his desk, until such time, likely years from now, when the current crisis has been addressed and a truly reliable system of documenting property transfers has been restored.
Because if you can’t even define something as basic as the concept of ownership, capitalism is done.