The Washington Post may have shifted its coverage of the Wall Street bailout bill from the front page to the business section, but the newspapers in Connecticut, Sen. Chris Dodd’s home state, are rightly keeping up scrutiny of the relationship between the Democratic senator and the banks that would benefit directly from Dodd’s bill.
The Hartford Courant editorializes:
[T]he Dodds received a five-year adjustable-rate mortgage on their Washington townhouse of $506,000 at 4.25 percent and a $275,000, 10-year adjustable-rate loan on their East Haddam home at 4.5 percent.
Such rates were available around that time, but only briefly. They’re also lower than what the Dodds were quoted when they first applied for the loans.
Countrywide gave the senator the lower rate, a so-called “float-down,” for free. It also waived about $2,000 in application fees on the townhouse loan and $700 for the East Haddam mortgage.
Sen. Dodd and his wife will save thousands of dollars over the 30-year life of the loans because of Countryside’s perks. Even still, we find it hard to believe the senator would have sold his constituency (or his reputation) so cheaply.
Columnist Kevin Rennie adds:
Dodd’s mortgage deals and the bank bailout bill combined to draw attention to his fundraising. Countrywide was a steady contributor, but not nearly as generous as Bank of America. Since Dodd became chairman of the Banking Committee in January 2007, he’s received more than $70,000 from Bank of America and its executives. And Bank of America is the big winner in Dodd’s expensive legislation.
So put away your outrage, Sen. Dodd. There’s a simple way for the public to reach its own conclusions. Release the documents related to the mortgages. Show us the mortgage commitment letters, good-faith estimates and closing documents that are standard forms. You probably voted to require some of them. There’s nothing intrusive about them, especially when your reputation and the integrity of the Senate are at stake.