Skip to comments.Watchdog group blasts Senate (loophole) rule that exempted Dodd D-Ct mortgages from disclosure
Posted on 06/22/2008 6:25:49 AM PDT by Libloather
Watchdog group blasts Senate rule that exempted Dodd mortgages from disclosure
By Don Michak
Published: Thursday, June 19, 2008 2:46 PM EDT
Sen. Christopher J. Dodd didnt have to disclose the two controversial mortgages he obtained in 2003 through a VIP program at Countrywide Financial Corp. because of a loophole in the Senates ethics rules, a Washington-based campaign finance watchdog group charged Wednesday.
The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics also reported that the five-term Democrat collected more than a tenth of the subprime lenders campaign contributions this year $15,000 and that he had collected a total of $25,000 from Countrywides political action committee during his career.
It said that was more than any other senator got from Countrywide and suggested that the campaign contributions were investments.
The Journal Inquirer reported Wednesday that Dodd, now chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, which oversees the mortgage industry, didnt describe either of the Countrywide loans that totaled nearly $800,000 in any of the six financial disclosure forms he later filed as a senator and 2008 presidential candidate.
A spokesman for the senator said Wednesday that was because Dodd wasnt required to list the mortgages since the Senates disclosure rules exempt loans obtained in connection with a members primary or secondary residences.
The aide added that the rules do require disclosure of loans made in connection with rental properties and that Dodd had consistently reported the details of a mortgage he obtained for a two-bedroom cottage he owns in Ireland.
Nonetheless, a Center for Responsive Politics spokesman said Wednesday that Dodd had benefited from an interesting loophole that keeps the public from knowing how politicians finance whats often their largest investment: their own home.
Meanwhile, the group on its Web site rued that under this surprising loophole, most members of Congress have to disclose property, or mortgages on that property, only if it produces income.
So, unless they rent out a room, their basement, or a guesthouse out back, a congressmans primary residence is generally not listed, it said.
Dodd on Tuesday adamantly denied knowing that he had received special treatment when he used Countrywide to refinance both his Washington townhouse and his home in East Haddam.
He was responding to criticism sparked by a report on the Web Site of Conde Nasts Portfolio magazine, which reported last week that the preferential loans were made under Countrywides Friends of Angelo program a reference to the lenders chief executive, Angelo Mozilo.
Portfolio also reported that Countrywide had waived fractions of points on the loans, saving Dodd about $2,700, and that their interest rates had been reduced from an initial quote of 4.87 percent, potentially saving the senator about $58,000 over their term.
The Senate Ethics Committee this week began a preliminary investigation of the mortgages Dodd and others received from Countrywide, which was a major player in the subprime mortgage business whose collapse led to a national housing crisis.
Dodd insisted Tuesday that the interest rates he had received from Countrywide were within the range of those being offered by other companies at the time and that he never talked to higher-ups at the company and didnt know Mozilo.
He also said he would welcome a ethics panel probe of the matter, saying he had no problem whatsoever.
This idiot RUNS the Banking Committee? This is what happens when the perps write the rules/loopholes.
It is the electors that are the idiots. Dodd is simply a liar who uses the system to gore the ox.
Sorry ... excuse me for a spell ... I forgot.
THEY ARE DEMOCRAPS!! Gotz ta goez a gits my medications, Vern.
That's an oxymoron if there ever was one!
Ok which is it Senator Dodd, are you a bought and paid for puppet for Countrywide or are you, as the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, so incompetent that you didnt know what the prevailing mortgage rates were when you signed your mortgage?
In either case you should resign, but of course you wont.
DODD and CONRAD need Investigation from the FBI, not just the Senate “ethics” committee.
Club members (DC hacks) are above the law.
Vote him out.
The FBI should check their freezers. I hear that’s a good place to hide your bri...I mean your “Friends of Angelo” cash.
These People in the Senate and House are so crooked that when they die, they will have to screw them into the ground!.. LOOP HOLE!
I think that is an OXYMORON!
Yeah! fix it for themselves and still they get caught!....
'Cuz the pols surely won't do diddly.
A) They don't know who else is dirty.
B) The ethics truce is still in force. Don't out ours and we won't out yours.
Capitol Hill is a cesspool.
If the FBI formed a taskforce to go after dirty federal and state pols, they'd be doing this nation a great service.
Being a rat means never having to say you are sorry. You are NEVER guilty of anything. If you can’rt lie your way out of something the ratmedia will simply stop reporting on it.