DOES THE GOP ENDORSE THE BOGUS CRA ARGUMENT?…. By mid-week, a wide variety of far-right voices — the Wall Street Journal editorial page, Krauthammer, the National Review, Fox News, and others — simultaneously argued that the Wall Street crisis could be blamed on the Community Reinvestment Act. For the right-wing, the argument was a two-fer — it blamed liberals and lower-income minorities for the mess.

As a factual matter, Robert Gordon explained very well this week that the conservative argument on the CRA is completely baseless. But as a political matter, the issue took on a new dimension when Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), one of the loonier members of the House, used an Investor’s Business Daily article during a congressional hearing to blame the crisis on Bill Clinton, “blacks,” and “other minorities.”

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus asked a reasonable question this week: does the House Republican caucus agree with Bachmann’s analysis? In a letter to House Minority Leader John Boehner, CBC members asked:

It is clear from Rep. Bachmann’s comments that she believes that the bipartisan laws enacted over the past decade ensuring that minority communities have equal access to banking and other financial services are the cause of this financial situation. […]

There is no evidence to support Rep. Bachmann’s assertion that “minorities” caused the current financial crisis. Laws designed to open opportunities for equal access to credit do not require banks or thrifts to make loans that are unsafe or unprofitable. In fact, laws like the CRA mandate exactly the opposite. […] Additionally, research clearly shows that the majority of the predatory loans that have led us to this financial mess were originated by non-bank financial institutions and other entities that did NOT have a CRA obligation and lacked strong federal regulatory oversight. Shifting the blame for the current economic crisis to laws that allow equal access and opportunities to communities of color is ridiculous.

As members of the CBC, we simply ask if Rep. Bachmann’s position that it was lending to minority communities that caused the current financial crisis, represent the position of Republican Caucus?

I suspect Boehner will ignore the letter, but under the circumstances, there’s every reason to believe the question deserves an answer.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.