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"About that Mortgage, Senator . . ." [Dodd, Conrad] ^ | June 27, 2008 | Glenn Reynolds

Posted on 06/27/2008 9:40:37 PM PDT by Uncle Ralph

NEW YORK TIMES: "About that Mortgage, Senator . . ."

It turns out that the chieftain of Countrywide -- which is smack in the middle of the mortgage mess -- extended privileged borrowing status to two Senators, Chris Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, and Kent Conrad, Democrat of North Dakota. Both Senators deny any ethical violations.
The disclosure of the V.I.P. arrangments by the political website left constituents angry and suspicious -- particularly because the revelations came just as Congress was rousing itself to do something about the mortgage foreclosure crisis.
It would be nice to think that members of Congress did not go into the process with any undue friendships with the mortgage companies.
The Senate ethics committee, normally known for profound silence in the face of members' scandals, has proposed having more stringent disclosure rules as a part of the chamber's standing regulations. Currently, home mortgages are exempt from loan disclosure rules. (Why? we'd like to know. Is there something about graft given in the form of a home mortgage that is less corrupting than other forms of graft?)

Indeed. Plus this: Mortgages: Sleaze-o-rama:

More sleaze oozed out of the subprime mortgage mess this month with news that two U.S. senators got sweetheart loans from a giant mortgage company.
One of them, Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., heads the Senate Banking Committee, which gives him heavy clout over mortgage lenders. The other is Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D.
Angelo Mozilo, the controversial chairman of Countrywide Financial, gave both of them loans at low fees and reduced interest rates. . . .
It's difficult to say what is more remarkable about the senators' behavior: the petty venality or the stupidity.
Mr. Conrad was the more crass of the two. While shopping for a loan, he called James Johnson, the former chairman of mortgage giant Fannie Mae and a former top adviser to Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. Mr. Johnson happened to be with Mr. Mozilo when Mr. Conrad's call came through. Mr. Mozilo got on the line and got the senator's loan application rolling.
Mr. Dodd says he didn't ask for favors from Mr. Mozillo. Maybe so, but the senator knew that Countrywide had placed him in a special program for VIPs. It got him special treatment and an interest rate available only to special customers. Mr. Conrad borrowed more than $1 million, Mr. Dodd more than $775,000.
It also turned out that Mr. Johnson himself got a sweetheart loan from Countrywide. When that fact surfaced, he resigned his position heading Mr. Obama's vice presidential search committee.

Sleaze-o-rama, indeed. And as I've noted before, the real problem isn't so much the mortgages, as the culture of entitlement that made the mortgages seem no big deal.

Heck, even The Socialist Worker sees the problem:

BUT WHILE millions grapple with rising mortgage payments or see their wealth evaporate with falling house prices, members of Congress continue to benefit from favorable treatment by mortgage lenders--the very same lenders who will get a bailout if proposed legislation passes.
The housing bill's key backers in the Senate--Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), head of the Senate Banking Committee, and Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), who chairs the Senate Budget Committee--both got special deals from the nation's biggest mortgage lender, Countrywide, thanks to their connections with the company's CEO, Angelo Mozilo.
"Dodd, the lead sponsor of the bill, secured no-closing-cost mortgages at interest rates of 4 percent and 4.25 percent, and continues to insist he got no special favors," the Rocky Mountain News reported. Conrad admitted calling Mozilo for help with a discount on a $1 million mortgage for a beach house, but also claims that it was legitimate.
Now Dodd and Conrad are in position to return the favor to the mortgage industry. If the current bill passes the House, Countrywide and other lenders will see U.S. taxpayers assume responsibility for mortgage defaults.

Do tell. Plus, from the Hartford Courant: "Come Clean, Senators."

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; US: Connecticut; US: North Dakota
KEYWORDS: 110th; bribes; congress; conrad; corruptdems; corruption; countrywide; cultureofcorruption; democrats; dodd; graft; mortgages; mozilo; ratbastards; scandal; senate

1 posted on 06/27/2008 9:40:37 PM PDT by Uncle Ralph
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To: Uncle Ralph


2 posted on 06/27/2008 9:41:55 PM PDT by allmost
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To: Uncle Ralph

Wasn’t Dodd the chair of the DNC during the Clinton Chinagate scandal?

3 posted on 06/27/2008 9:49:45 PM PDT by ETL
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To: Uncle Ralph

I want these s**theads in prison.

4 posted on 06/27/2008 9:53:29 PM PDT by Attention Surplus Disorder (Congrasites = Congressional parasites.)
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I think he and ted played sandwich with a waitress, during the Clinton administration. nI seem to remember a picture posted on FR. Maybe it was a fake.

5 posted on 06/27/2008 10:01:01 PM PDT by notaliberal (Christ Our Hope!)
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To: Uncle Ralph
Corrupt bastards, every last one of them.

Being that they are Demopimps, this should be a minor speed bump for them.

Middle class choking on energy and food prices and the slime bags in Washington only care about themselves.

This is the ultimate “let them eat cake” moment.

6 posted on 06/27/2008 10:36:01 PM PDT by headstamp 2 (Been here before)
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To: Uncle Ralph

“These allegations are too important not to investigate”—does that sound somewhat familiar?

7 posted on 06/27/2008 11:11:55 PM PDT by pankot
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To: notaliberal

Not a fake. It happened. So what? These SOB’s give us the finger and laugh and we let them skate and re-elect them. Disgusting.

8 posted on 06/27/2008 11:14:21 PM PDT by pankot
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To: headstamp 2

You know what happened after Marie Antoinette said that, don’t you...?

9 posted on 06/27/2008 11:15:31 PM PDT by pankot
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To: Uncle Ralph
I thought this was "old" news. Didn't they explain themselves? All is forgiven, they had no idea that they were getting a sweatheart deal.

After all they are just the Nations top lawmakers. That does not make them smart. right?

10 posted on 06/27/2008 11:19:26 PM PDT by Afronaut (It's 1984)
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To: Afronaut; All


nothing here folks, move along, move along....

for our next exhibit, look at the man who exposed a CIA undercover agent. Well not really exposed, he just knew about her outing. but look, he is soooo guilty

11 posted on 06/27/2008 11:49:42 PM PDT by jbp1 (be nice now)
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To: Uncle Ralph

Mozilogate ping.
Here a video of the latest debate by the US senate on the Dodd-Shelby/BOA/Countrywide/Mozilo housing gambler-major financal who funds campaigns bailout bill. You can see Hillary, Kerry, Pelosi, Dodd, Shelby, Kennedy, Obama, Feinstein, and Cantwell involved.

12 posted on 06/28/2008 1:33:20 AM PDT by Proud_USA_Republican (We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good. - Hillary Clinton)
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To: Uncle Ralph

•Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., received $20,000 in campaign contributions from Countrywide Financial Corp. over the past two decades, more than any senator except Barack Obama, D-Ill., who received $22,900 as a first term senator.

13 posted on 06/28/2008 1:45:39 AM PDT by Proud_USA_Republican (We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good. - Hillary Clinton)
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To: Uncle Ralph

Countrywide Corruption

By the Editors - National Review

The U.S. Senate is about to enact a massive subsidy for Countrywide Financial less than a week after revelations that the company’s “Friends of Angelo” sweetheart-loan program included two U.S. senators. It seems unthinkable, but it’s true. What’s worse? One of the two senators sponsored the bill.

The principal author of the Dodd-Shelby housing-bailout bill is Sen. Christopher Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat who chairs the Senate Banking Committee, which has jurisdiction over the mortgage market. Last week, Portfolio magazine revealed that Dodd was one of two U.S. senators who benefited from a program under which Countrywide Financial gave loans at favorable terms to the influential and the powerful. The other senator was Kent Conrad, a Democrat from North Dakota.

The allegations against Conrad are damning enough. Though he denies having known he received preferential treatment, Conrad admitted to a Wall Street Journal reporter that he called Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo to ask for a loan on the advice of former Fannie Mae CEO Jim Johnson, another beneficiary of the program. (Johnson resigned from Barack Obama’s running-mate vetting team after his involvement in the program was revealed.)

But as powerful as Conrad is, the allegations against Dodd are more disturbing because he wields so much power over Countrywide’s fortunes and because he has used that power to benefit Countrywide. According to Portfolio’s calculations, the preferential loan rates Dodd received on two mortgages could end up saving him $75,000. (Like Conrad, Dodd denies knowing that he received preferential treatment.)

The troubling nature of this arrangement becomes clear when one looks at the fine print of the Dodd-Shelby housing bill. Under the bill, mortgage lenders — of which Countrywide is the largest in the U.S. — would agree to renegotiate their most troubled home loans in exchange for a federal guarantee on those loans. If the borrowers who took out those troubled loans end up defaulting, the government would cover any losses the mortgage lenders incur.

Under the Dodd-Shelby bill, a fee collected from the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would fund this program. The House version of the bill would fund the program with tax dollars. Either way, the program would be “a government buyout of problem mortgages disguised as a refinancing plan,” as David C. John of the Heritage Foundation puts it in his analysis.

Defenders of Dodd’s bill insist that it’s not a bailout, because the lenders have to write down 15 percent of the value of a troubled loan in order to qualify for the program. The lenders, they insist, are taking a loss and bearing the consequences of the irresponsible lending in which they engaged during the housing boom.

But this argument omits the fact that if a troubled loan goes into foreclosure — a most likely destination for many of them — the lender faces an average loss of one-third of the value of the loan. Faced with this kind of loss, many lenders have an incentive to work something out with borrowers anyway, and many already have, taking advantage of the Bush administration’s voluntary Hope Now program to do just that.

The kind of loans that lenders would dump on the government under the Dodd-Shelby bailout would be the most radioactive on their books — the ones likely to default anyway. So concluded the Congressional Budget Office, which found that up to 35 percent of the loans refinanced through the Dodd-Shelby program would eventually default. The lenders wouldn’t have any exposure to those losses — they would be paid back through the fund created by the Dodd-Shelby bill.

And this is where we come full circle, back to Sen. Dodd and his sweetheart deal from Countrywide. The Dodd-Shelby housing-bailout bill would be bad public policy under any conditions. Lenders are already under severe pressure to write down loans for borrowers who still have a chance to make it. The bill is overwhelming slanted toward protecting lenders, like Countrywide, that lowered their standards dramatically on a bet that home prices would never go down and subsequently find themselves holding a lot of bad debt.

Congress should launch a full investigation of Countrywide’s program to influence the powerful; that much should go without saying. But if the Senate passes the Dodd-Shelby housing bailout before such an investigation can run its course — especially if that investigation finds that members of Congress were improperly influenced — it will have allowed Countrywide to take the money and run.

14 posted on 06/28/2008 1:51:44 AM PDT by Proud_USA_Republican (We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good. - Hillary Clinton)
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Yes. He is his father's son.

His old man got censured by the Senate for being a damned crook.

Dodd "inherited" his father's seat....his ethics too.

15 posted on 06/28/2008 2:53:13 AM PDT by Jimmy Valentine (DemocRATS - when they speak, they lie; when they are silent, they are stealing the American Dream)
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To: Jimmy Valentine
Perhaps that is why the state Dodd represents starts its’ spelling C-O-N-necticut!
16 posted on 06/28/2008 3:05:01 AM PDT by geezerwheezer (get up boys, we're burnin' daylight!!!)
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To: geezerwheezer

LOL!! Fair enough!

17 posted on 06/28/2008 3:14:20 AM PDT by Jimmy Valentine (DemocRATS - when they speak, they lie; when they are silent, they are stealing the American Dream)
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Yes he was, I love the Way scandals work for Democrats , Clinton gets investigated for taking Chinese money illegally and what is the result ,The laws must be changed ,close the loopholes , Dodd takes a Bribe ,well we must close the Loopholes .

18 posted on 06/28/2008 4:48:10 AM PDT by ballplayer
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To: geezerwheezer

Right we have Mayors ,State Reps and Gouvenors in Prison but good old Dodd keeps right on shooting his big mouth off as if he has some Moral authority to do so . He should be in Prison

19 posted on 06/28/2008 4:50:52 AM PDT by ballplayer
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To: Proud_USA_Republican

IMHO...this issue needs a special prosecutor ..

20 posted on 06/28/2008 4:53:55 AM PDT by mo
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To: ballplayer
From, Saturday, May 26, 2001
Senate's New Democrat Leaders Have Sordid Pasts

"Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, who will be chairman of the Rules and Administration Committee, was chairman of the Democratic National Committee and 'one of the masterminds of the Chinagate scandal.'"

21 posted on 06/28/2008 5:34:36 AM PDT by ETL
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To: headstamp 2

Vote all incumbents out!

22 posted on 06/28/2008 6:15:16 AM PDT by Unicorn (Too many wimps around.)
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To: headstamp 2

Vote all incumbents out!

23 posted on 06/28/2008 6:15:46 AM PDT by Unicorn (Too many wimps around.)
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To: Unicorn

I second that motion!

24 posted on 06/28/2008 6:22:08 AM PDT by ETL
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To: Unicorn

I second that motion!

25 posted on 06/28/2008 6:22:31 AM PDT by ETL
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Senator Conrad gave Chinagate figure John Huang a recommendation to get a job in Ron Brown’s Commerce department after receiving $10,000 from various figures, including John Huang and the Riady’s. These folks are untouchable because without public scrutiny from the press there is no accountability.

26 posted on 06/28/2008 6:29:38 AM PDT by Sawdring
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To: Sawdring; All
From a 2003 Washington Post article:

"...a statement [Bill] Clinton made in February 2002, in which he told an audience in Australia, 'This is a unique moment in U.S. history, a brief moment in history, when the U.S. has preeminent military, economic and political power. It won't last forever. This is just a period, a few decades this will last.'

Clinton continued...

'In all probability, we won't be the premier political and economic power we are now' in a few decades, he said, pointing to the growth of China's economy and the growing economic strength of the European Union.

Whether the United States maintains its military supremacy, he said, depends in part on how much those other entities invest in their militaries, and Clinton said working cooperatively is essential to U.S. interests.

But he said he did not want to be misunderstood. 'I never advocated that we not have the strongest military in the world...I don't think a single soul has thought I was advocating scaling back our military.'

Source: Washington Post article from May 2003:

or find his remarks here (Talon News):
Clinton Predicts America's Decline:

"'We like your president. We want to see him reelected', former Chinese intelligence chief General Ji Shengde told Chinagate bagman Johnny Chung. Indeed, Chinese intelligence organized a massive covert operation aimed at tilting the 1996 election Clinton’s way."

The Idiot's Guide to Chinagate

By Richard Poe
May 26, 2003

CHINA WILL LIKELY replace the USA as world leader, said Bill Clinton in a recent Washington Post interview. It is just a matter of time. Clinton should know. He has personally done more to build China’s military strength than any man on earth.

Most Americans have heard of the so-called "Chinagate " scandal. Few understand its deadly import, however. Web sites such as "Chinagate for Dummies" and its companion "More Chinagate for Dummies" offer some assistance. Unfortunately, with a combined total of nearly 8,000 words, these two sites – like so many others of the genre – offer more detail than most of us "dummies" can absorb.

For that reason, in the 600 words left in this column, I will try to craft my own "Idiot’s Guide to Chinagate," dedicated to all those busy folks like you and me whose attention span tends to peter out after about 750 words. Here goes.

When Bill Clinton took office in 1993, China presented little threat to the United States. Chinese missiles "couldn’t hit the side of a barn," notes Timothy W. Maier of Insight magazine. Few could reach North America and those that made it would likely miss their targets.

Thanks to Bill Clinton, China can now hit any city in the USA, using state-of-the-art, solid-fueled missiles with dead-accurate, computerized guidance systems and multiple warheads.

China probably has suitcase nukes as well. These enable China to strike by proxy – equipping nuclear-armed terrorists to do their dirty work, while the Chinese play innocent. Some intelligence sources claim that China maintains secret stockpiles of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons on U.S. soil, for just such contingencies.

In 1997, Clinton allowed China to take over the Panama Canal. The Chinese company Hutchison Whampoa leased the ports of Cristobal and Balboa, on the east and west openings of the canal respectively, thus controlling access both ways. A public outcry stopped Clinton in 1998 from leasing California’s Long Beach Naval Yard to the Chinese firm COSCO. Even so, China can now strike U.S. targets easily from their bases in Panama, Vancouver and the Bahamas.

How did China catch up so fast? Easy. We sold them all the technology they needed – or handed it over for free. Neither neglect nor carelessness are to blame. Bill Clinton did it on purpose.

As a globalist, Clinton promotes "multipolarity"– the doctrine that no country (such as the USA) should be allowed to gain decisive advantage over others.

To this end, Clinton appointed anti-nuclear activist Hazel O’Leary to head the Department of Energy. O’Leary set to work "leveling the playing field," as she put it, by giving away our nuclear secrets. She declassified 11 million pages of data on U.S. nuclear weapons and loosened up security at weapons labs.

Federal investigators later concluded that China made off with the "crown jewels" of our nuclear weapons research under Clinton’s open-door policy – probably including design specifications for suitcase nukes. Meanwhile, Clinton and his corporate cronies raked in millions.

In his book The China Threat, Washington Times correspondent Bill Gertz describes how the system worked. Defense contractors eager to sell technology to China poured millions of dollars into Clinton’s campaign. In return, Clinton called off the dogs. Janet Reno and other counterintelligence officials stood down while Lockheed Martin, Hughes Electronics, Loral Space & Communications and other U.S. companies helped China modernize its nuclear strike force.

"We like your president. We want to see him reelected," former Chinese intelligence chief General Ji Shengde told Chinagate bagman Johnny Chung. Indeed, Chinese intelligence organized a massive covert operation aimed at tilting the 1996 election Clinton’s way.

Clinton’s top campaign contributors for 1992 were Chinese agents; his top donors in 1996 were U.S. defense contractors selling missile technology to China.

Clinton received funding directly from known or suspected Chinese intelligence agents, among them James and Mochtar Riady who own the Indonesian Lippo Group; John Huang; Charlie Trie; Ted Sioeng; Maria Hsia; Wang Jun and others.

Commerce Secretary Ron Brown served as Clinton’s front man in many Chinagate deals. When investigators began probing Brown’s Lippo Group and Chinagate connections, Brown died suddenly in a suspicious April 1996 plane crash.

Needless to say, China does not share Clinton’s enthusiasm for globalism or multipolarity. The Chinese look out for Number One.

"War [with the United States] is inevitable; we cannot avoid it," said Chinese Defense Minister General Chi Haotian in 2000. "The issue is that the Chinese armed forces must control the initiative in this war." Bill Clinton has given them a good start.

The Idiot's Guide to Chinagate:


27 posted on 06/28/2008 6:41:56 AM PDT by ETL
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To: All
FReeper justa-hairyape famously posted: " Here Mozilo demonstrates that you still can fit into a Lamborghini even with 2 US Senators in your back pockets. "

"You peons will never know how profitable it is to be connected," Mozilo said.

28 posted on 06/28/2008 7:06:27 AM PDT by Liz (Taxpayer: one who works for the govt but doesn't have to take a civil service test. R. Reagan.)
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To: nutmeg; Last Dakotan


29 posted on 06/28/2008 9:08:58 AM PDT by Clintonfatigued (If Islam conquers the world, the Earth will be at peace because the human race will be killed off.)
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To: Uncle Ralph
The only time the name Dodd crossed my path and elecited a smile was when the PAstor of a small Catholic Church up here in my neck of the woods sent Dodd his 10K donation back with a message. I'll translate into my vernacular.

Senator Dodd, take your abortion loving money and stick it where the sun don't shine.

I still smile when I think about that Pastor doing the right thing.

30 posted on 06/28/2008 9:13:28 AM PDT by jwalsh07 (El Nino is climate, La Nina is weather.)
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To: All

“Privileged borrowing status?”

Bull. It was just the standard borrowing status, nothing more.

Standard for Senators, that is. After all, they work hard for it.

Is it coincidence that Privileged Borrowing Status is abbreviated PBS?

31 posted on 06/28/2008 10:23:13 AM PDT by DPMD (~)
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To: Uncle Ralph

So what is the surprise?

Their elected officals correct.

The average joe sixpack would be in jail by now.

These are the type of people who are making laws, but not for themselves only the tax payers and the voters, they could care less about them until it’s time for re-election.

Wake up voters, time to take out the trash.

32 posted on 06/28/2008 11:32:55 AM PDT by chiefqc
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