March 30, 2009

FORTUNE: Chris Dodd’s loyalty test. “The senator, who will play a pivotal role in salvaging the financial system, is, for good or ill, a man of contradictions and compromises. He has written consumer-protection legislation but has also helped himself to enormous campaign contributions from his state’s insurance companies and hedge funds. He’s the longest-serving congressman in Connecticut history, scion of a New England political dynasty, but he’s been losing ground lately and may soon face his toughest campaign since he was first elected to Congress in 1974. He’s an idealist – a former Peace Corps volunteer – but he’s been involved in dubious real estate deals with close pal Edward Downe Jr., an admitted felon, and may have received preferential treatment on his mortgage refinancing from Countrywide’s Angelo Mozilo. He was a prodigal senator for several months, moving his family to Iowa in a quixotic presidential bid, but now has been entrusted to focus on the details of reinventing the U.S. financial system. He is one of the Senate’s masters of procedure, but, man, he sure blew it with the AIG bonus loophole.”