10.01.2008 0

Sub-Prime Senate Scandal

  • On: 10/14/2008 13:07:18
  • In: Economy
  • When the Senate is attempting to expedite a bill with unusual fortitude, therein lies a sure indicator that something is amiss. The latest instance of such a monstrosity is the “FHA Housing Stabilization and Homeownership Retention Act of 2008.” Not only is this piece of legislation an unnecessary egregious expenditure of our tax dollars, but the sponsoring Senator and his campaign are fueled by funds from one of the primary benefactors of the bill, namely Bank of America.

    A week or so ago, there was news of preferential treatment or “VIP” status being given to certain members of Congress and others in high positions within the government by Countrywide Financial. And while Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) has publicly proclaimed his innocence, released financial records and even re-financed his loan under non-preferential standards, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) has yet to make any such move.

    As a matter of fact, he is on the record giving different stories to reporters and is now trying to cover his tracks in order to improve his credibility. First, he insisted that he did not realize he was receiving any special treatment, but suddenly he came to a new realization and has since shifted to say that he was under the impression that all Countrywide Financial return-customers received such rates. Of course, that was after he found out what the going mortgage rates are these days.

    Interesting, because Mr. Dodd has received approximately $50,000 from employees of Bank of America and his PAC and presidential campaigns both received the maximum contribution of $10,000 each. The only two politicians to receive more contributions from Bank of America are Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton…but that is another issue. Even the Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), has released his financial records to show that he is above-board in his intentions. So, why, Sen. Dodd, are you neglecting to follow suit?

    While receiving special rates on loans is not exactly on the up-and-up, it is not the worst part of this scandal centering on Sen. Dodd, who just happens to be Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. The tangled web exposes itself when one realizes that Countrywide is in the process of merging with Bank of America. Timothy Carney reported in the Washington Examiner that Countrywide Financial is coincidentally the most exposed lender in the sub-prime debacle and therefore has the highest liability risk where foreclosure is concerned.

    And thus, it is in Bank of America’s best interest to expedite this piece of legislation in order to recoup the losses that Countrywide’s liabilities have caused. Not only is Chris Dodd in bed with Bank of America over the deal, but National Review Online is reporting that the legislation looks remarkably similar to a Bank of America document that was published about a month in advance of the introduction of HR 5831.

    To make matters worse, Carney also reveals that the current edition of the bill is not the same as what was approved a month ago. New copies have only been available since Wed., June 18 and the bill was brought to the floor on Thurs., June 19. This means that the bill approved in committee was not the bill brought to the Senate floor and the steamrolling used to push the bill to vote before it could even be read by the Senators implies that perhaps there was something to hide in the legislation. If that doesn’t signal a red flag, I’m not sure what does.

    Sens. Jim Bunning (R-KY) and Jim DeMint (R-SC) made a noble attempt to block the bill and have it sent back to committee, but were voted down 70-11. President Bush has already warned that to avoid veto, any sub-prime mortgage bail-out bill will have to distinguish between those who should benefit and those who are just trying to find an easy way out. Such a veto would be advantageous and would allow for a further investigation into the growing scandal surrounding Sen. Dodd and his shady business.

    While Sen. Chris Dodd is hiding out at his home in Connecticut, he continues today to stick to his story that he did not know he was receiving “sweetheart treatment” from Countrywide Financial. It is appalling that a man who considers himself to be cut from presidential cloth should conduct his business in such a corrupt manner and refuse to publish any of his financial records. Since he can’t be troubled to know what the going mortgage rates are as the Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, I suppose he couldn’t know that he was getting better than normal rates, either.

    He refuses to even acknowledge the blatant connection between himself, Bank of America and Countrywide Financial, but it doesn’t take much to see that this love triangle—and the legislation at hand—was intended to benefit all involved, and stick the American taxpayers with a price tag of upwards of $300 billion. Both of the other high profile members of Congress in question have done everything possible to disclose that they are in the clear, but Sen. Dodd seems to be above such actions.

    Do you have something to hide, Senator? In the Congress that was alleged to be the “most ethical” Congress ever, we have yet another example of corruption flowing unabated—and 38 elected Republican senators voted in favor of it.

    ALG CTA: In order to call Senator Chris Dodd out on his blatant corruption and maligned under-the-table practices, we urge you to contact the Senator’s Press secretary directly at Colleen_Flanagan@Dodd.Senate.gov . In addition, here is a link to his web site http://dodd.senate.gov/index.php?q=node/3130 and the phone number for his office is (202) 224-2823.


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