Add Rep. Frank Annunzio of Chicago to the list of congressmen responsible for prolonging the savings and loan bailout and costing taxpayers billions of dollars. Mr. Annunzio's display of election-year bravado killed a stopgap rescue measure designed to give the Resolution Trust Corp. enough cash to continue shutting down insolvent thrifts. The result: a long delay that will add $3 billion or more to S&L cleanup expenses.
What makes Mr. Annunzio's action even more unseemly is his history of close family ties to the savings and loan industry, his opposition to bills clamping down on wayward S&Ls, his willingness to promote the cause of an S&L that gave him $12,000 in campaign funds and his efforts to hide these contributions.
As the second-ranking member of the House Banking Committee, the Illinois congressmen did nothing to avert this S&L scandal. Now, faced with the reality of a massive, expensive cleanup of red-ink thrifts, Mr. Annunzio opted to grandstand for the sake of political gain back home -- even though House leaders pleaded with him to relent. This intransigence killed consideration of a measure that would have given the RTC $10 billion to continue its S&L workouts.