Skip to comments."About that Mortgage, Senator . . ." [Dodd, Conrad]
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 Politico.com 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."
Wasn’t Dodd the chair of the DNC during the Clinton Chinagate scandal?
I want these s**theads in prison.
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.
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.
“These allegations are too important not to investigate”—does that sound somewhat familiar?
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.
You know what happened after Marie Antoinette said that, don’t you...?
After all they are just the Nations top lawmakers. That does not make them smart. right?
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
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.
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.
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 companys Friends of Angelo sweetheart-loan program included two U.S. senators. It seems unthinkable, but its true. Whats 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 Obamas 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 Countrywides fortunes and because he has used that power to benefit Countrywide. According to Portfolios 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 Dodds bill insist that its 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 administrations 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 wouldnt 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 Countrywides 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.
His old man got censured by the Senate for being a damned crook.
Dodd "inherited" his father's seat....his ethics too.
LOL!! Fair enough!
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 .
Republicans CULTURE OF CORRUPTION THROW THEM OUT
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
IMHO...this issue needs a special prosecutor ..
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