Why is Sen. Dodd stalling on loans?
Connecticut Post StaffIsn’t it time that U.S. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd came clean and released documents on two mortgages hew received from Countrywide Financial Corp. that has already sparked a Senate ethics inquiry?Following a meeting in Westport on Monday with Fairfield County labor leaders, Connecticut’s senior senator once again hedged on saying when he would release the documents. Dodd continues to say the information will be forthcoming but he refuses to say when.Well, it’s been five month since the disclosure that Dodd and another senator may have received preferential treatment in 2003 on mortgages from Countrywide Financial, which was later implicated in the sub-prime mortgage scandals and eventually was taken over by Bank of America.When the disclosure came, Dodd said he never sought preferential treatment from Countrywide and pledged he would disclose information about the loans. However, since then it’s been one hedge after another when he’s asked about the matter.Full disclosure is key because Dodd is chairman of the Senate Banking Committee and is at ground zero in the nation’s Capitol in trying to put a stop to America’s economic meltdown. Certainly, his efforts in the Senate to craft remedies to the meltdown are appreciated, but this preferential treatment issue continues to hang over his work like a dark cloud and detracts from it.It may be true, as the senator has said repeatedly said in recent months, that there’s little to be told about his deal with Countrywide in refinancing a Washington townhouse and his home here in Connecticut. But, if that’s the case — and we hope that it is — why prolong release of the information and the mounting criticism the senator is facing.It’s no wonder, according to a Quinnipiac poll of registered state voters released last week, that Dodd’s popularity rating is at an all-time low of 47 percent.
Back in June the WSJ reported tha Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd, reportedly received “preferential” interest rates from Countrywide Financial Group because was “friends” of the company’s chairman and chief executive, Angelo Mozilo. The report said Countrywide made two loans in 2003 at special rates to Sen. Dodd, a $503,000 loan to refinance a Washington townhouse and a $275,042 loan to refinance a loan on his home in East Haddam, Conn.
The article said Countrywide waived fractions of points on the loans, a move that likely saved Sen. Dodd money. The lower interest rates could have saved Sen. Dodd combined $75,000 during the life of the 30-year loans, though this could be difficult to measure because the mortgages were reportedly adjustable-rate loans.
Since then, the Senate Banking Chair has been asked to release info about about this possible conflict of interest, but he has been stonewalling: