Monday, March 23, 2009

Dodd, by a Countrywide Mile!

Our Founders envisioned that men of successful experience in their vocations would, at some point, offer themselves for a few years for public service in government. And, until sometime in the 1900s they did that. Historian Paul Johnson writing in Modern Times calls the professional politician the scourge of the 20th century. Senator Christopher Dodd has never had a real job. He has been in congress since 1975 after college and a stint in the Peace Corps. He is currently in his fifth 6-year term in the Senate after serving (?) 6 years in the House. His father was a US Senator. What has he done for the country compared to what has he done for himself? No contest --Dodd wins out over the country by a Countrywide mile! (Just a little reference to his sweetheart mortgage deal from his being “a friend of Angelo” at Countrywide Financial.) The Hartford Courant reported that during the past 20 years, "PACs and employees of finance-related firms have paid more than $13 million to Dodd's election efforts, including nearly $6 million in the past two years." Beats working.

Citizens Against Government Waste named Dodd its June 2008 “Porker of the Month - For accepting special financial discounts from a mortgage company (Countrywide Financial) whose actions contributed directly to the current housing mess and then drafting a monstrous mortgage bailout bill that will dump billions of dollars worth of risky mortgages onto the backs of taxpayers while lending a helping hand to his corporate benefactor.” Our first Poster Child, Barney Frank got this award as well: “For his ample and under-appreciated contributions to the nation’s current economic meltdown and his near-genius ability to engage in the two-faced blame game, CAGW names House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank March Porker of the Month.” Frank and Dodd share much of the blame for the current financial breakdown.

In his role as chairman of the Banking Committee, Sen. Dodd took campaign contributions from banks and insurance companies that he regulated –big bucks. One example, $70,000 from Bank of America (only Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama received more money from BofA). In June 2008, the Los Angeles Times reported that staffers from Bank of America had drafted Dodd's housing bailout bill (FHA Housing Stabilization and Homeownership Retention Act of 2008) in March 2008, before it was introduced in the Senate.

The Center for Public Integrity has criticized Dodd for "being the leading advocate in the Senate on behalf of the accounting industry." Dick Morris wrote that Dodd had received more contributions from accounting firm Arthur Anderson than any other Democrat and bore responsibility for trying to shield accounting firms from investor fraud liability in cases like Enron. AIG paid Dodd for sticking TARP compensation limits in the stimulus bill. His last-minute measure explicitly exempted from compensation limits bonuses agreed to prior to the passage of the stimulus bill --which he adamantly denied doing. He had to admit it when cornered with the truth a few days later.

Not that all this “pay to play” contributions and favors for friendly laws and regulations is unique to Sen. Dodd –no, this is a way of life for career politicians. When politics is your career, you do what is necessary to advance your career. You shove into the background that annoying little Oath of Office thing if it is in the way of your next election. Professional pols know that their constituents don’t follow these matters very closely and won’t hear much from opponents who cannot begin to compete with the enormous advantages of an entrenched incumbent. The mainstream media is no help.

Then there’s the matter of the cottage in Ireland. In 1994, Dodd and a William Kessinger bought a 10 acre estate on Galway Bay in a deal witnessed by a long time friend of Dodd’s, Edward Downe, a convicted felon. Dodd lobbied (paid?) President Clinton to pardon Downe, which he did. Shortly thereafter, Kessinger sold his 2/3rds share of the “cottage” to Dodd for $122,000 well under the nearly $1 million that it was worth at the time. The Wall Street Journal after detailing the above transactions commented, “Mr. Dodd is busy these days blaming everyone else for the real-estate bubble and financial meltdown. But he owes his constituents and the Senate an honest accounting of his Galway property over the past 15 years. If its value grew with the rest of the area, he needs to explain why Mr. Kessinger handed it over for a song, why that isn't an unreported gift under Senate rules, and what role Mr. Downe might have played as a middleman.” Where’s the Senate Ethics Committee? Oh, excuse me; Dodd is an entrenched Democrat with 34 years seniority.

We just hit a few lowlights of this man’s career at the public trough. Suffice to say that had he spent no more than six years in the House and six in the Senate, the Republic would be the better for it.

On another telling aspect of the man, it should be noted that Dodd is a friend, apologist, supporter, of Castro, Ortega and Chavez at one time or another. Dodd strongly opposed pro-American anti-dictator John Bolton’s appointment as Ambassador to the UN, according to Bob Novak, because of Dodd’s support for the dictator(s). Aside: In January, Chavez, aspiring dictator of Venezuela had term limits on his office repealed in a fraudulent vote and Daniel Ortega, just elected president of Nicaragua with Chavez money, is moving to eliminate term limits on himself, as well. Career pols and dictators don’t like term limits.

As our friend Nelson Lee Walker says, tenure corrupts. Certainly not Dodd, but as you will see in the parade of Poster Children for Term Limits, some do start out with good intentions. After six years, on average, they decide it is really all about them and public service turns to self service. It was Ronald Reagan who said about them that they go up to Washington to “drain the swamp” and after a while they find it is really a hot tub. Barney Frank and Chris Dodd are just two of the worst of a bad lot who are wrecking our Republic and need to be stopped. Term limits on them would have saved our country a lot of grief –let’s learn from the past and enact term limits on congress. Go to and sign the petition to term limit congress. Better late than never.

1 comment:

Seamus said...

Another good choice for the recognition, Gio. Chris Dodd has to be the most hypocritical liar in the Senate, and that is saying a lot in a gang that includes Kennedy, Kerry and Reid. That bus load of folks driving around Fairfield, CT, harrassing the AIG execs and their families in their homes should be raising hell at Chris Dodd's house instead. He is the real culprit in this scandal.
Looking forward to your take on Snarlin' Arlen next.