Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd admitted to America today that he has the IQ of a slug. Well either that or he thinks that his constituents are that stupid. Last week it was disclosed the Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee Received TWO VIP Loans from Sub-Prime Lender Countrywide Inc. The Loans were at favorable interest rates.
Today THE CHAIRMAN OF THE SENATE BANKING COMMITTEE, Chris Dodd, said that he didn’t realize that VIP treatment meant favorable rates. COME Freeking ON. He is CHAIRMAN OF THE SENATE BANKING COMMITTEE, are we really to believe that he has no Idea of what is a good loan rate and what is a an extra-special loan. rate? Dodd says he didn’t know to ask. So I guess that means that he has no sense of ethics along with a lack of common sense. Read the full story below:
Dodd: I didn’t know VIP meant perks By Jessica Holzer Posted: 06/17/08 07:42 PM [ET] Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) said he and his wife knew Countrywide Inc. was treating them as “VIP” customers when they refinanced mortgages on two homes in 2003, but it didn’t cross his mind he was getting a financial perk from the sub-prime lender. Dodd, who as chairman of the Senate Banking Committee oversees mortgage lenders, said he did not ask and Countrywide’s representatives did not say what the VIP treatment entailed. “We knew at the time that we were being dealt with within a special section of the company,” Dodd explained. “We really just assumed it was a courtesy, because we had an existing mortgage with them — two mortgages with them.” He noted that he and his wife, Jackie Clegg, were pre-existing customers with excellent credit. Clegg assumed that they were merely going to receive more attentive customer service, Dodd said. He said he had never sought nor had any knowledge of any special rate he was getting from Countrywide. “As a member of the U.S. Senate over these many years, the idea of asking or seeking any kind of financial preference, whether it’s on home mortgages or anything else, I completely reject. And any offer that ever would be made I would terminate immediately,” he said. Dodd and Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) faced intense questioning from reporters on Tuesday during their first appearance in the Senate after a report that they received sweetheart deals as part of the “Friends of Angelo” program, named for Angelo Mozilo, the embattled chief executive of Countrywide. The program waived points and fees on loans to prominent people, according to Portfolio magazine. Both have repeatedly denied that they asked for or knew they were receiving any favorable treatment. Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.). Photo by Lauren Victoria Burke Despite the scrutiny, the Senate is expected to move forward with the housing bill engineered by Dodd. The upper chamber may vote as soon as Wednesday on the legislation, which is intended to help homeowners and would increase regulations of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) brushed off suggestions from reporters that it could appear awkward to move to the housing legislation while a cloud is still hanging over Dodd’s and Conrad’s heads. He called the bill “extremely important” given the wave of foreclosures in the country. He also indicated that the senators are cooperating fully with the Ethics Committee. “It’s my understanding that Sen. Dodd and Sen. Conrad said they would welcome any investigation by the Ethics Committee,” he said. Senate Republicans were reluctant to criticize Dodd and Conrad over the reports. “I’m not going to comment on what some member did or didn’t do. I don’t have any information on that,” said Sen. Richard Shelby (Ala.), the top Republican on the Banking Committee. Sen. Richard Burr (N.C.) said that he believed his Democratic colleagues when they said they weren’t aware of the sweetheart deals they were receiving. A senior GOP aide, however, contended that Republicans would get much tougher treatment by ethics watchdogs and the media had they received preferential treatment from a lender. “If they were Republicans, there would be calls from editorial boards across the country for the chairman of Banking to step down as the chairman of Banking. So there’s a double standard,” the aide said. Dodd and Conrad are diverging sharply in their handling of the matter. Conrad has sought to redress the problem by giving a $10,700 gift to Habitat for Humanity. On Tuesday, he said that Ethics Committee staff indicated that he may need to pay Countrywide to wipe away entirely any appearance of impropriety. On Monday, Conrad paid down one of his two Countrywide mortgages that is under scrutiny. Dodd on Tuesday appeared to reject terminating his relationship with Countrywide or making a donation to charity commensurate to the financial break he received from Countrywide. “I don’t believe we did anything wrong,” he said. He explained that he and his wife shopped around for rates, making inquiries at Washington Mutual and Wachovia, among other lenders. He said the rates they received from Countrywide were well within the band of rates that borrowers were getting across the country. “There wasn’t any red flag for me,” he said. Dodd said that he and his wife received a 4.25 percent rate on a five-year adjustable rate mortgage on their Washington, D.C., residence, and a 4.5 percent rate on a 10-year adjustable rate mortgage on their Connecticut home. The rates amount to a discount of fractions of a percentage point, according to internal Countrywide e-mails obtained by Portfolio. Countrywide also apparently shaved a percentage point from the fees on Conrad’s home mortgage. In addition, the lender made an exception by selling the senator a mortgage on an eight-unit apartment building he owns with his brothers. Normally, it provides loans on buildings with four or fewer units Conrad on Tuesday sought to clarify a subsequent report that he spoke to Mozilo by phone about his mortgage, saying he didn’t call the lending executive or realize that talking to him could result in any special treatment. “I didn’t call him. I called my friend who happened to be with him at the time,” he said, referring to James Johnson, the former chairman of Fannie Mae, whom Conrad says he called to ask for advice on getting a new mortgage. By pure coincidence, according to Conrad, Mozilo was sitting next to Johnson, who suggested the senator speak to him directly. Conrad doesn’t recall whether Mozilo referred him to a Countrywide loan officer, or whether the company contacted him. “If I could be faulted, it’s probably right there,” Conrad said of asking Mozilo for advice. He said he didn’t think twice about talking to the head of the lender about the mortgage, given his office in the Senate, because he’d done so with every one of the mortgages he’s taken from North Dakota lenders. “Each and every one of them, I’ve dealt with the head or the No. 2 of the institution,” he said. Conrad also said that, after his staff had contacted Countrywide, he learned that he did not receive a percentage point off the interest rate on his mortgage, as the initial report suggested. Instead, the lender had slashed one percentage point from his mortgage fees.