Dodd, Conrad told deals were sweetened
WASHINGTON (AP) - Despite their denials, influential Democratic Sens. Kent Conrad and Chris Dodd were told from the start they were getting VIP mortgage discounts from one of the nation's largest lenders, the official who handled their loans has told Congress in secret testimony.
Both senators have said that at the time the mortgages were being written they didn't know they were getting unique deals from Countrywide Financial Corp., the company that went on to lose billions of dollars on home loans to credit-strapped borrowers. Dodd still maintains he got no preferential treatment.
Dodd got two Countrywide mortgages in 2003, refinancing his home in Connecticut and another residence in Washington. Conrad's two Countrywide mortgages in 2004 were for a beach house in Delaware and an eight-unit apartment building in Bismarck in his home state of North Dakota.
Asked by a House investigator if Conrad, the North Dakota senator, "was aware that he was getting preferential treatment?" Feinberg answered: "Yes, he was aware."
Referring to Dodd, the investigator asked:
"And do you know if during the course of your communications" with the senator or his wife "that you ever had an opportunity to share with them if they were getting special VIP treatment?"
"Yes, yes," Feinberg replied.
I think the first question I have is, why the Hell were these hearings secret? There were no state secrets discussed here. This was to attempt to protect a Democratic Senator who is in deep doo-doo in his state and is facing a steep re-elction bid next year.
And no nonsense about ethics hearings being done behind closed doors, that's an excuse, not a reason. This is a new era of openness in government. Nancy Pelosi drained the swamp. I know he's a Senator, he was not in Pelosi's swamp (there's no room), but the Dems came in promising a new day in both chambers. Well we have it.
Finally, there is the obvious, these Senators were taking bribes while the economy was tanking.
I personally believe that this should be a matter for the Justice Department not the Senate. But, then again, that fate is only reserved for Bush lawyers who had the audacity to try to keep us safe.