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Clinton slams Countrywide CEO Mozilo's pay

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton on Wednesday joined other Democrats in criticizing mortgage lender Countrywide Financial Corp CEO Angelo Mozilo’s pay package, calling it “outrageous.”

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) speaks during the MSNBC/Nevada Democratic Party presidential candidates debate in Las Vegas, January 15, 2008. Clinton on Wednesday joined other Democrats in criticizing mortgage lender Countrywide Financial Corp CEO Angelo Mozilo's pay package, calling it "outrageous." REUTERS/Steve Marcus

Mozilo stands to receive about $36.4 million if the company he founded is sold as planned to Bank of America Corp, according to regulatory filings and compensation experts.

Countrywide, the nation’s largest home lender, has been hit hard by the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis shaking financial markets worldwide, with many homeowners facing foreclosure.

Last week, two Democrats urged Mozilo to donate to struggling borrowers some of the money he will get if the $4 billion Bank of America acquisition is completed.

In an interview with CNBC-TV business news, Clinton called Mozilo “one of the principal architects of this whole house of cards, with these exotic subprime mortgage vehicles.”

His pay package, the New York lawmaker and former first lady said, “is outrageous.”

Mozilo ranks as one of the top-paid U.S. executives, getting about $387 million from pay and stock option gains from 2002 to 2006, according to U.S. regulatory filings.

“Executives of a lot of these companies that participated in creating this very difficult set of problems we’re trying to work our way out of should not be rewarded ... as they walk away,” Clinton said.

California Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee, on Monday said he has invited Mozilo and some Wall Street executives to testify on their pay at a February 7 hearing.

New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer and Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Barney Frank last week urged Mozilo to donate some of his fortune to help millions of distressed homeowners.

California-based Countrywide had no immediate response to a request for comment on Clinton’s remarks.

Reporting by Kevin Drawbaugh, editing by Mark Porter