March 23, 2009
CHRIS DODD UPDATE:
We’re as perturbed as anyone about bonuses being paid by a company that has drained tens of billions of dollars from American taxpayers. We’re also amused that one of the principal apostles of outrage, Sen. Chris Dodd, Democrat from Connecticut, apparently added changes to the stimulus bill that made it possible for AIG to pay the big bonuses. Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, is already in hot water because he accepted low-interest personal mortgages from Countrywide, the lender that later went bust. He also may be involved in a shady deal involving his vacation home in Ireland.
It has been hard to keep up with Dodd’s changing stories, but one version has him inserting the bonus-enabling language at the behest of the Obama Treasury Department. Dodd, by the way, was the No. 1 recipient last year of contributions from AIG employees and political action committees, raking in more than $104,000. Barack Obama was a close second, receiving just under $104,000 in AIG money.
We’re not really sure what all of this means — except that Chris Dodd surely is not the man to oversee the revival of the banking industry.
Indeed. Plus, Connecticut Post: Dodd’s actions speak louder than his words.
As a ranking member of the all-important U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs between 2003 and 2008, Dodd accepted donations from the nearly defunct insurance giant American International Group totaling nearly $225,000. In 2008, while we looked to him to represent our best interests, he received $157,194 from a now-quasi-nationalized Citigroup Inc., part of his total annual take of $854,200 from all TARP recipients, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
How can he truly represent his constituents’ best interests when he is accepting vast sums of money from organizations that the government has assisted through the infusion of federal tax dollars? While legal, an objective observer should question the judgment and ethics of our state’s senior senator.
His poor judgment does not stop there. The senator was one of the most significant recipients of money from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, now nationalized due to poor oversight and years of legislative mismanagement. According to his office as reported just two weeks ago, Dodd has agreed to return campaign donations from TARP recipients since the government began infusing the companies. What an honorable decision considering that his hand was caught in the cookie jar!
Further, Dodd received from Countrywide Financial, an entity that was sold to Bank of America in order to avoid bankruptcy, a special below-market mortgage rate on his two personal residences. He called a “V.I.P.” number at Countrywide and in so doing abused his position as a lead oversight legislator in the U.S. Senate.