Senator Viewed Mortgage Treatment as a ‘Courtesy’

nytimes.com/2008/06/18/washington/18dodd.html?bl&

WASHINGTON — Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut said Tuesday that he was aware that Countrywide Financial Corporation had assigned him to a V.I.P. program in 2003 when he refinanced mortgages on his homes in Connecticut and Washington but that he and his wife “assumed” that “it was more of a courtesy thing.”

Why is he not being prosecuted for this? He received a $70,000 in a campaign contribution from Countrywide.

Another Democrat, Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota, has admitted receiving preferential treatment from Countrywide on mortgages for a vacation house in Bethany Beach, Del., and an apartment building in Bismarck, N.D., but he said he was unaware of favoritism until a report last week on Portfolio.com questioned the terms of the loan.

Mr. Conrad announced that he had made a donation of $10,700 to Habitat for Humanity — the amount he saved by getting a one-point discount on fees related to a $1.07 million loan for the beach house. …
“Ten of the 12 mortgages I got were in North Dakota and in every one of those instances I talked with the No. 1 or No. 2 person,” he said. “I don’t know what I would’ve done differently.”

Right, we all get to talk to the boss.

Shouldn’t there be an indictment?

Though not corrupt, but unethical Republican Dennis Hastert and the earmark Prarie Parkway is another strange deal.

What’s wrong with taking a break on a loan if someone is offering it to you w/ no strings attached? If someone gives a family member or friend a break on a loan, should they be indicted?

Simple. Wrong Party :shrug::cool:

originally posted by wabrams
What’s wrong with taking a break on a loan if someone is offering it to you w/ no strings attached?

The congress is in the process of reviewing the facts and this is **corruption. **The congress induced the banks to sell these variable mortgages to many people who were not qualified to pay them. They gave low rates that they could initially pay.

Countrywide then turns around and gives a special low rate to Senator Dodd and Senator Konrad on their million dollar properties. What a great savings and don’t we all wish we could get those rates.

A $70,000 campaign contribution to Dodd’s re-election - how sweet.

The explanation he gave on the radio was that he assumed it was a standard program given to everyone. I think that is credible. Businesses often give fancy names to programs which just about anyone qualifies for.

I’m confused. What does this $70k campaign contribution refer to? The mortgage or something else???

originally posted by IrishAm
I’m confused. What does this $70k campaign contribution refer to? The mortgage or something else???

The $70K was a separate campaign contribution from Countrywide for his re-election.

In 2003 Senator Dodd also refinanced two homes from Countrywide, one in Connecticut and one in Washington on a “V.I.P”. program.

Senator Conrad of North Dakota also received from Countrywide discounts on two properties, on mortgages for a vacation house in Bethany Beach, Del., and an apartment building in Bismarck, N.D.

Countrywide was a major variable rate loans financier.

Mr. Conrad announced that he had made a donation of $10,700 to Habitat for Humanity — the amount he saved by getting a one-point discount on fees related to a $1.07 million loan for the beach house.

originally posted by Dale_M
The explanation he gave on the radio was that he assumed it was a standard program given to everyone.

Right, we all refinanced million dollar property at a very low rate or V.I.P rate.This is corruption and that is how some politicians get rich.

Congress voted to push these variable rate mortgages and many of these families lost their homes while these Senators saw no problem taking a very special rate on their loans from these same companies.

Reviewing the facts that the Senator is involved in corruption or reviewing the facts of the industry wide mortgage problem?

Here is an article on Countrywide and I believe Congress is looking into this.

article.nationalreview.com/?q=MmEwYzQ1NmY2NDc1ZGIzNTIzZDVkMTRhMzg4ZTA5ZGY=

The U.S. Senate is about to enact a massive subsidy for Countrywide Financial less than a week after revelations that the company’s “Friends of Angelo” sweetheart-loan program included two U.S. senators. It seems unthinkable, but it’s true. What’s worse? One of the two senators sponsored the bill.

The principal author of the Dodd-Shelby housing-bailout bill is Sen. Christopher Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat who chairs the Senate Banking Committee, which has jurisdiction over the mortgage market. Last week, Portfolio magazine revealed that Dodd was one of two U.S. senators who benefited from a program under which Countrywide Financial gave loans at favorable terms to the influential and the powerful. The other senator was Kent Conrad, a Democrat from North Dakota…

Under the Dodd-Shelby bill, a fee collected from the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would fund this program. The House version of the bill would fund the program with tax dollars. Either way, the program would be “a government buyout of problem mortgages disguised as a refinancing plan,” as David C. John of the Heritage Foundation puts it in his analysis.

The bit about talking about it with the high-ups at Countrywide really doesn’t look too good for that credibility, though. If I remember right from another article I read a few days ago, Dodd got his loan through Mozilo’s special arrangement system as well.

The Ethics Committee is apparently starting to grind its gears over this, so we’ll see what they come up with. Indictments may follow in due course, so have a little more patience.

Mirdath,

I think you are wrong as there is little in the news on this and it is just going to get buried by the media. There will be no indictment.

A search of Google News for “Dodd mortgage” turns up quite a few hits. It appears (I made a just cursory glance) that the large national or regional newspapers are covering the story, as are the Connecticut newspapers, but that television news and local newspapers are ignoring it.

I’m no fan of the Senator, but could you please provide a source for this statement? I only ask because there are very well regulated limits on what a company (through its PAC, usually) can contribute – $10,000 per cycle (6 year cycle in the case of Senators). I can imagine a collection of Countrywide employees all around the country in addition to the PAC contribution may well have totalled $70,000 to him, based on his leadership level and involvement in financial affairs, but that doesn’t seem to be what is being alleged.

Thank you.

originally posted by IrishAm
I can imagine a collection of Countrywide employees all around the country in addition to the PAC contribution may well have totalled $70,000 to him

Could be. He received a loan that would save him over $75.000 over 30 years.

“However, it’s not Countrywide that should be scrutinized along with Dodd’s motives, but the company that just bought Countrywide at $7 a share: Bank of America.”

Chris Dodd, the US senator who introduced the mortgage bailout bill this week, has received approximately $70,000 in campaign contributions from Bank of America in the last year-and-a-half, Tim Carney reports in the Washington Examiner.* The mortgage bill would allow banks such as Bank of America and mortgage lenders like Countrywide, which BofA is in the process of acquiring, to push their worst performing loans onto government agencies. It is such a give away to mortgage laden banks that it is being mocked by Republican staffers as “the Bank of America bill on steroids.”

Dodd, of course, chairs the senate’s banking committee. It may seem obvious that the banking committee chairman would receive lots of money from one of the nation’s largest banks. But it wasn’t always so. Richard Shelby, who headed the banking committee while Republicans controlled the senate, received only $7,000 from Bank of America employees during his four-year chairmanship. When the going was good, no one needed to own a senator.

dealbreaker.com/2008/06/chris_dodd_the_senator_from_ba.php

Okay, going back to my original question about the claim

A $70,000 campaign contribution to Dodd’s re-election - how sweet.

the real information in this source is that

"Bank of America’s political action committee (PAC) has donated $20,000 to Dodd since he became chairman of the banking panel 17 months ago. From January 2007 to March 2008, Bank of America employees have donated at least $50,400 to Dodd’s campaigns, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. "

The $20,000 would be “maxing out” (by BoA, not Countrywide, apparently) for two cycles . . . I would anticipate they would always max out for the Chairman – and probably a lot of other Senators on both sides of the aisle in pertinent committees. When a company merges with another company, as often happens in financial institutions, the numbers are higher because both companies were entitles to “max” prior to the merger (but not any more afterwards).

Given Dodd’s position in the Senate and the number of employees that Bank of America (and any company it has acquired in that period of time) has, $70,000 is really not an outrageous number. Some people like him and give him money . . . that’s appropriate. A dozen rich people who adore him and give the Federal max or near to it could hit $70k. Both Countrywide and Bank of America are national companies.

You can’t buy a Senator for $70k. Heck, you can’t even buy a corruptable alderman for $70k these days . . . :wink:

Again, I’m not in anyway defending Dodd. But these numbers of amount in support of any given candidate/Congressfolk are thrown around as an indictment when they may or may not be.

originally posted by IrishAm
Again, I’m not in anyway defending Dodd.

It still seems like a lot of money for re-election funds $70,000 in 1-1/2 years for Dodd if the last guy, Richard Shelby who was head of the Banking Finance Committee only got $7,000 over 4 years. A $75,000 saving on one of the two loans he received from Countrywide - wouldn’t we all like a V.I.P. loan?

Mt Conrad got two loans, one on a $1.07Million beach house.

People lost their homes.

Again, I just would like to know the source of those numbers and what exactly they mean. Big company PACs give millions of dollars and spread it around . . . OpenSecrets.org – which gives the amounts given and to whom based on FEC filings – shows Bank of America’s PAC gave Dodd $10k this cycle and Countryside’s PAC gave him $15k. That’s a long way from $70k. And while Sen. Shelby did not get the same level of campaign committee contributions, his leadership PAC – Defend America PAC – did. Again, not an uncommon event. Some elected officials choose not to receive money from big companies or PACs for their campaign committees, but take it for the leadership PACs.

I can’t believe I’m finding myself seeming to defend Dodd! :eek:

originally posted by IrishAm
I can’t believe I’m finding myself seeming to defend Dodd!

I am trying to find the exact figures. I know that the democratic presidential candidates got money from Countrywide and Bank of America but the figures are much smaller (1,000 to 4,000) but again it depends where it comes from like you have stated - which PACs. Richard Shelby’s leadership PAC got money but not him personally, is that correct?

It is very difficult when dealing with big money to try to figure it out.

It begs the question - what is corruption? Is it corruption when you are head of the Bank Finance Committee and get reduced loans or is that just a “Courtesy”.

I don’t know. Like celebrities, these are powerful, rich, people who are accustomed to getting favors from people. They are rich and powerful enough that it doesn’t mean they will do the bidding of the highest bidder, certainly. Especially not for the “small amount of money” we are talking about here. (Yeah, I know . . . wouldn’t be a small amount in my life, but I don’t live their lives.) Favors like these, and contributions, too, mostly just cultivate relationships, open the door to hearing someone’s side of an issue when it comes up. I suspect a lot of small town mayors get free coffee from the local diner for the same reasons.

Probably looks a lot more corrupt than it actually is . . .

originally posted by IrishAm
They are rich and powerful enough that it doesn’t mean they will do the bidding of the highest bidder, certainly…I suspect a lot of small town mayors get free coffee from the local diner for the same reasons.

It is one thing to get a coffee from a local diner and another to get $75,000 plus a second loan and $70,000 in campaign. This Senator is the head of the Banking Finance Committee. and is the only vote we, the people, get in Congress…

Congress voted to pushed variable loans on many who shouldn’t been eligible and many lost their homes. Now the Dodd-Shelby bill will bail out these loan companies while Senator Dodd gets nice V.I.P loans.** I do not expect an indictment **but I believe this is corrupt.

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