By MATTHEW KAUFFMAN The Hartford Courant, March 20, 2009
An executive at mortgage giant Countrywide Financial overrode the company's loan-writing policies to give a discount to Sen. Christopher Dodd,the powerful chairman of the Senate banking committee, according to an internal Countrywide document turned over to congressional investigators and obtained by The Courant. [full article]
The article does not reveal any quid pro quo. The evidence proves Dodd received preferential treatment but does not prove that Dodd was aware of it. Dodd as Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee is one of the nations most powerful banking overseers. Countrywide is one of the nations largest subprime lenders.
What is revealed by this investigation is that Countrywide routinely gave preferential treatment to important people whom they called "Friends of Angelo." They frankly discussed in documents and emails who was worthy of getting special deals and who was not. Some staffers and lesser influential politicians such as mayors were classified as "moderate VIP".
After months of Dodd's and Countrywide's stonewalling, the issue can now be put to rest. Probably all that can be proven is proven. Weather Dodd knew about it or not, Dodd should return the ill gotten gains from his Countrywide refinance deals. Dodd's roll in the AIG bonuses scandal, his sweetheart loans from Countrywide, and the large campaign contributions he has received from AIG should make him unworthy of chairing the senate banking committee. He should step down.