Senate Won’t Dump Wall in S&L; Scandal : Home Loan Board Chief Presided Over Thrifts Crisis
Senate, struggling to approve a bailout of the savings-and-loan industry, refused today to dump M. Danny Wall, the administrator who presided over the thrifts crisis and gave huge tax breaks to wealthy investors.
The Senate rejected, 61 to 38, an amendment to require President Bush to reappoint Wall, subject to Senate confirmation, as chief of the new Office of Savings Assns.
By rejecting the amendment, the Senate essentially “grandfathered,” or protected, Wall in his new duties until mid-1991 when his current job expires.
Wall, head of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, angered Democrats and Republicans by committing the government to at least $38 billion in tax breaks, subsidies and guarantees to bail out more than 200 sick savings banks just before a Jan. 1 deadline.
Part of the complaint was that Wall did not warn Congress that he was making the concessions to new owners, including some of the wealthiest families and corporations in America. The new owners included members of the Bass family of Texas, the Pritzker family of Chicago and Ford Motor Co.
There also were complaints that Wall claimed--as late as last October--that his agency was making “significant strides” in dealing with the savings-and-loan crisis and had enough insurance money for short-term needs.
Wall has close ties to Sen. Jake Garn (R-Utah) and worked for Garn in Salt Lake City and Washington for 17 years. Wall’s wife, Alvina, is Garn’s personal secretary.
During the debate, Garn supported Wall, saying “it’s important to have continuity.” Garn also is the Republican floor manager for the S&L; bailout bill.
Passage of the bill, which provides money for the biggest liquidation in the history of the country, was assured. But Sen. Howard M. Metzenbaum (D-Ohio) was pressing for a series of pro-consumer amendments. Votes on those and other issues could hold up the bill until Friday.
Metzenbaum said his package of amendments is not “an effort to stall or delay.” But assistant Senate Democratic leader Alan Cranston said “that is the major hang-up.”