Call to Jail Finance Committee Members

This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," October 17, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, lock them up for messing everything up. My next guest says that Congress caused this financial mess, so now dozens of them should go to prison.

Keith Fimian is running for Congress. He's a Republican from Virginia.

Mr. Fimian, those are some strong words. Yes, they are. What — why are you — why are you — why do you say they should go to prison?

KEITH FIMIAN (R), VIRGINIA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Well, what I said is, you have got members of the Senate and House Banking Committees that all took — or many took — generous campaign contributions from members — or from Freddie and Fannie, only to turn a blind eye to what was taking place. They abrogated their responsibility.

Video: Watch Neil's interview with Congressman Keith Fiminan

And, frankly, Fannie and Freddie are 25 times the size of Enron, where you had people go to prison. It seems to me an investigation should take place, and those responsible should be investigated and possibly indicted for their actions.

CAVUTO: And these include Republicans on both committees, right?

FIMIAN: They do, indeed.

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CAVUTO: All right.

FIMIAN: Members of both parties took contributions from these organizations to turn a blind eye, and that's exactly what took place.

CAVUTO: All right.

A lot of these folks say that their decisions and all of this had nothing to do with contributions. It had everything to do with the markets melting, and they frantically had to come and do something. You're not buying it?

FIMIAN: I'm not. Look, the Community Reinvestment Act took place in '77. Clinton put teeth in it in '99.

You had community banks making loans to unqualified borrowers that they knew were unqualified. Many of these community banks were very nervous about doing this. But, when Freddie and Fannie started buying these loans, now that — that task fell to Frannie — Fannie and Freddie, rather.

And you had an opportunity for hearings back two or three years after the — the — the teeth got put into this act. And, yet, despite that, you had Barney Frank saying, let's roll the dice.

We knew that, because of the quality government guarantee that — that the government had for these loans, that this was going to take place, and, yet, nothing was done about it. And it's unconscionable that that's what happened.

CAVUTO: But what about — what do you think, Keith, the possibility that, yes, they should have known or they should have been more on top of this, but they're — they're guilty, not so much of deceit, but stupidity?

FIMIAN: Well, that could be the case, as well. But, in either case...

CAVUTO: But you know what I'm saying. You're not thrown in jail for being stupid.

Most times, it's for deliberate deceit or...

FIMIAN: They abrogated...

CAVUTO: ... or, you know, you — you crafted a very uncrafty response. But you — bottom line, you're stupid in this case. You're — you're just an idiot.

FIMIAN: Look, the bottom line is, if you're stupid in this case, if you're an idiot, and you're sitting on these committees, you should be responsible for your actions.

CAVUTO: Well — well, now, be careful here. I know you mean well, but, if we had to draw the line on people who are idiots in Washington and that they shouldn't be there or should be going to jail, if you get there, it might be a pretty lonely place.

So, be careful how far you go, right?

FIMIAN: Well, my only point is that an investigation, I believe, should take place. The men and women of these committees had hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions given to them. And they ignored their fundamental responsibility in oversight.

CAVUTO: All right.

FIMIAN: The rules and regulations were there. They were just ignored.

And now the American people are paying for it. Of the $30 trillion in wealth the American people possess, something like $5 trillion of that is now gone. So, there's been a 15 percent reduction in the wealth of the American people.

And no one's even talking about anyone being investigated for this. Yet, Enron, one-twenty-fifth of the size of these organizations, had people go to prison. Just because...

CAVUTO: All right.

FIMIAN: If you and I get a speeding ticket, we have to pay the fine. If these senior members of the House and Senate get a speeding ticket, they raise the speed limit. And I don't think that's fair.

And, frankly, I'm tired of the — the — the culture of corruption, because it seems to me to be everywhere.

CAVUTO: All right.

FIMIAN: It's taking place in my race, here in Northern Virginia.

CAVUTO: All right.

Well, Keith, it is an original idea. I guess it's one step shy of execution, but interesting. It's a very interesting idea.

Keith Fimian, thank you very much.

FIMIAN: Thank you.

CAVUTO: All right.


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