Dodd Fed Target........

Discussion in 'Wall St. News' started by flytiger, Nov 9, 2008.

  1. I put this here, because he has taken huge money from his HedgeFund pals.....,0,1054619.column
    Dodd's Deals: Nothing Unusual About Fed Probe?
    Senator Still Stonewalling On Curious Loans

    Kevin Rennie


    November 9, 2008

    A Democratic president who feels "a righteous wind" at his back has at least six more Democratic senators and realized a net gain of 22 seats in the House of Representatives ought to make this the age of influence for 28-year Senate veteran Christopher Dodd. But the fates divide our fortune, and not always equally.

    As the Democrats moved toward victory at the end of October, a story by NBC's Lisa Myers set Dodd apart from his triumphant fellow Democrats. Myers reported that federal agents are investigating the notorious "Friends of Angelo" list maintained by subprime mortgage giant Countrywide Financial's co-founder Angelo Mozilo. Dodd was the most prominent member of that exclusive club.

    Since the Dodd story broke in June, the five-term senator has offered contradictory fragments of explanations and intentions. Scheherazade after a six-pack of Red Bull would not have told more desperate tales. Dodd gallops the gamut from calling the allegations of special treatment "outrageous" to pledging repeatedly and specifically to release documents related to the $800,000 in sweetheart deals he got from Countrywide.

    Still claiming "there's nothing there," Dodd refuses to say whether his Senate campaign committee's payments of $60,000 last summer to a Washington law firm, which has a history of representing Democratic senators in trouble, were for his defense in the Senate ethics investigation of his dealings with Countrywide. He suggested, before he fled to his third home in Ireland in August, that Countrywide was not cooperating in providing information.

    Dodd still claims there was nothing unusual about the $800,000 in mortgages he got from Countrywide in 2003, but records refute that, too. Documents indicate that Dodd was getting a mortgage of $276,150 on his second home in Connecticut on July 3, 2003. The amount was reduced to $275,042 and the mortgage he was refinancing was paid off.

    Dodd and his wife also got a home equity loan on their Connecticut property in East Haddam from Countrywide that day. But the course those loans took was very strange. The standard routine is for the homeowner to sign the loan documents, the borrowed money is sent to the lender being paid off and the new mortgage is recorded on local land records within a few days.

    Dodd, however, signed some but not all of his loan documents himself. Agents of Countrywide signed his $275,042 Connecticut mortgage. His previous mortgage with Countrywide was paid off but the new mortgage did not appear on the local land records for an astonishing 16 months. For nearly a year and a half, Countrywide failed (or declined) to secure its interest in Dodd's home by taking the ordinary and essential step of presenting the documents to the local town clerk and recording them in the land records.

    This is exceedingly rare in the mortgage business. No wonder Dodd refuses to lift the veil on his deals with the generous lender that went bust this year.

    Last month, amid tumbling approval ratings, renewed questions and scorching editorials in The Wall Street Journal and the usually friendly New York Times, Dodd unveiled a new tablet of nonsense. He announced that for the previous five months he'd really meant to say that he wouldn't release any documents until the Senate Ethics Committee completes its investigation. The senator is terribly disappointed that the investigation has taken this long. He left out that nothing in the committee's rules precludes him from releasing the documents to the public.

    A July statement from the committee, however, may explain why it hasn't confirmed Dodd's contention that there's "nothing there." It announced: "Absent special circumstances, it has been the long-standing policy of the committee to defer investigation into matters where there is an active and ongoing criminal investigation and proceeding so as not to interfere in that process." Clever Lisa Myers' story of federal law enforcement's investigation of the "Friends of Angelo" may explain the delay.

    This is not the sort of story jubilant Democrats want unraveling around one of their prominent senators. It interrupts the narrative of changing the world. Dodd may learn that President-elect Barack Obama's righteous wind, having dispatched so many Republicans, can cut down a Democrat who is not so nimble in explaining himself.

    • Kevin Rennie is a lawyer and a former Republican state legislator. He can be reached at

    Copyright © 2008, The Hartford Courant