May 19, 2024

Senator Dodd Pleads Stupidity On Mortgage Payola

Senator Dodd’s Denials An Insult To The Citizens

Most people refinancing their mortgage go to a bank and then get whatever  prevailing mortgage rate they qualify for.  When you are a Senator with vast powers over the financial industry, things are different – the bank comes to you and you get a special rate.

Does anyone really believe that Senator Dodd did not think he was being given special treatment?  If the Senator is really that naive, it must be extremely easy for special interests groups to take advantage of him at the expense of the American public.

Testimony: Sens. Conrad, Dodd Told They Were Getting VIP Loans

Washington (AP) – Two influential Senate committee chairmen were told they were getting special VIP deals when they applied for mortgages, an official who handled their loans told Congress in closed-door testimony.

Democratic Sens. Christopher Dodd and Kent Conrad had denied knowing they were getting discounts when they negotiated their loan terms.

Robert Feinberg, who worked in the VIP section of Countrywide Financial Corp., testified about the loan terms before the Senate Ethics Committee, and provided the same information in an interview with Republican investigators of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He could be prosecuted for making false statements.

Both senators have said that at the time the mortgages were being written they didn’t know they were getting unique deals from Countrywide, a company that lost billions of dollars on bad loans and since has been purchased by Bank of America.

Dodd, D-Conn., who is chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, still maintains that he got no preferential treatment. Conrad, D-N.D., who leads the Senate Budget Committee, took that position initially, but later acknowledged he did get a special deal.

Senator Dodd, no reasonably intelligent person believes that you did not know you were getting very special treatment.   You have been dishonest with the public before when caught in special deals with special interest groups.  Your plea of ignorance defies common sense and is an insult to the people you represent.

Countrywide VIPs, Feinberg told the committees, received discounts on rates, fees and points. Dodd received a break when Countrywide counted both his Connecticut and Washington homes as primary owner-occupied residences — a fiction, according to Feinberg. Conrad received a type of commercial loan that he was told Countrywide didn’t offer.

“The simple fact that Angelo Mozilo and other high-ranking executives at Countrywide were personally making sure Mr. Feinberg handled their loans right is proof in itself that the senators knew they were getting sweetheart deals,” said Feinberg’s principal attorney, Anthony Salerno.

Conrad initially said in June 2008, “If they did me a favor, they did it without my knowledge and without my requesting it.”

The next day, Conrad changed course after reviewing documents showing he got special treatment and said he was donating $10,500 to charity and refinancing the loan on the apartment building with another lender. He also said then it appeared Countrywide had waived 1 point at closing on the beach house.

At least Senator Conrad had the courage (after being exposed) to admit accepting special favors that would never be available to the average borrower.

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