The Hartford Courant continues to bash our Senator Dodd for his repeated refusal to release loan documents showing the details of the sweetheart deal he received from Countrywide Mortgage, once a large contributor to his coffers.
Release The Documents • Connecticut deserves straight talk about your loans
U.S. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd says he’s got nothing to hide. Yet for months he’s issued confusing and conflicting statements on whether he’ll publicly release documents relating to two loans he and his wife received from failed mortgage giant Countrywide Financial Corp.
He still hasn’t released them. On Jan. 23, Mr. Dodd was asked if he intends to await the conclusion of a Senate ethics inquiry before making the documents public. “Not necessarily,” he told a reporter for The Courant. “At some point soon we’ll do it.”
Mr. Dodd should have released the documents months ago. Countrywide was a major player in the subprime mortgage debacle. Five years ago, it issued the loans to Mr. Dodd, then a member of the Senate banking committee, as part of the company’s VIP program, trimming the upfront costs for refinancing two of the senator’s homes and allowing the rates to “float down” as interest rates dropped.
Countrywide collapsed last year and was acquired by Bank of America. Its failure sent shock waves through the economy and raised the question of why Congress didn’t act sooner to curb subprime lending by Countrywide and others.
His continued waffling about whether or when he’ll release the documents only fans speculation. That’s a disservice to Mr. Dodd’s constituents, who deserve straight talk and accountability from the state’s senior senator.
That question becomes even more pointed when directed at Mr. Dodd — now chairman of the Senate’s banking committee — in light of his preferential treatment from Countrywide.
The Hartford Courant is taking the lead on this story, which makes sense, as the smarmy politician is from our state. But I wish the national press would realize that the Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, at this time when all sorts of deals are being cut to bail out the very banks Dodd oversees, should be open and candid about favors he’s received from the industry in the past, particularly Countrywide. The New York Times joined the Courant in calling for release of the documents in this editorial published last October but since the election, I, at least, can find no further mention of the matter.
Dodd, of course, is no dummy. He’s betting that he can continue to stonewall because a Republican has no chance of evicting him from his seat next year and his fellow Democrats won’t dare go after a fellow Democrat with 28 years of accumulated favors to his credit. Charles Rangel has place the same bet, or hadn’t you noticed that the House panel that was supposed to be investigating Rangel’s tax fraud quietly disbanded after the election. Look, this shouldn’t be a partisan issue – there are crooks in both major political parties and I’d like to see them all driven from office. But the only party who can remove Dodd is his own, and it won’t do it. Without public pressure, which, so far, the Hartford Courant’s voice is insufficient to provide.
Of course, if anyone would track down Dodd’s illegal financing of that vacation cottage in Ireland, progress might be made.