Christopher Dodd

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Christopher Dodd
ChrisDodd.jpg
U.S. Senator from Connecticut
From: January 5, 1981 - January 5, 2011
PredecessorAbraham A. Ribicoff
SuccessorRichard Blumenthal
U.S. Representative from Connecticut's 2nd District
From: January 3, 1975 – January 3, 1981
PredecessorRobert H. Steele
SuccessorSam Gejdenson
Information
Party Democrat
Spouse(s) Jackie Marie Clegg
Religion Roman Catholic

Christopher "Chris" Dodd is a liberal former United States Senator from Connecticut, and 2008 Democratic presidential primary contender. Dodd served as the powerful chair of the Senate Banking Committee; he announced he would not seek a sixth term in 2010. Dodd faced a difficult reelection because of charges of corruption and contributing factors to the nation's banking crisis. The December 2009 Rasmussen Reports poll found that Republican challenger Rob Simmons, a moderate former Congressman, had a wide lead 48% to 35%. [1]

Contents

Political Career

Chris Dodd was born on May 27, 1944, in Willimantic, Connecticut. He was the fifth child of Senator Thomas J. Dodd. After Dodd graduated from Providence College, a Catholic school, with a B.A. in English Literature , he served in the United States Peace Corps in 1966-68. He served in the Dominican Republic were he worked carrying out humanitarian efforts for the rural community; he became fluent in Spanish. Dodd later served in the Army National Guard. Dodd earned a law degree from the University of Louisville in 1972. He was first elected to the United States Congress in 1974. He served three terms as congressmen, and in 1980, was elected to the United States Senate.

In the 1980s Senator Dodd took the lead in the liberal opposition to President Ronald Reagan's anti-Communist policy in Central America. He has long opposed the nation's embargo on the Communist Cuba of Fidel Castro.

In the Clinton administration era Dodd served as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, its chief fundraiser.[2] It was at this time while serving as Chair and heading up the Senate Banking Committee, Dodd obtained special favors from Countrywide Mortgage lending,[3] the single largest subprime mortgage lending institution in the United States and which immensely contributed to the Financial crisis of 2008, the Recession of 2008, and the ongoing global financial meltdown.[4] According to an unsourced statement in Wikipedia, Countrywide financed 20% of all mortgages in the United States, at a value of about 3.5% of United States GDP.

In 2004 Dodd's longtime golfing buddy, Bill Clinton tried to convince him to run for President.[5]

Ethics Issues

In 2008, allegations appeared that Dodd cut special discounts deals on his home mortgage from Countrywide subprime mortgage company. Dodd was cleared in 2009; he did not get a lower rate.[6]

Dodd legally received over $14,700 from lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who in now in prison for his bribery.

In 2009, Judicial Watch ranked Christopher Dodd the most corrupt politician in Washington. [7]

Senate Banking Committee

Dodd's responsibility for oversight of the subprime lending abuses and crisis

Congressional investigators discovered[8] during Dodd's duel tenure as chief fundraiser and Chairman of the DNC and Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee tasked with oversight of the mortgage lending industry:

Countrywide reached an exclusive agreement to sell Fannie Mae billions of dollars in mortgages at a discounted rate. The agreement led to a period of codependence and mutual growth. ...Between January 1996 and June 2008, Countrywide’s VIP loan unit made hundreds of loans to current and former Members of Congress, congressional staff, high- ranking government officials...

Fannie Mae and Countrywide lobbied against government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) reform legislation that would have diminished Fannie Mae’s ability to acquire and hold subprime mortgages originated by Countrywide. Countrywide also lobbied against predatory lending bills...several Members of Congress and congressional staff positioned to affect the legislation received VIP loans. In fact, Countrywide lobbyists – and CEO Angelo Mozilo himself – referred several Members and staff from the Senate Committee on Banking and the House Committee on Financial Services to the VIP unit. Those are the committees of primary jurisdiction for consideration of legislation related to the mortgage industry and the GSEs.

Countrywide’s VIP unit processed loans for key Senators and Senate staff who could be helpful when legislation that affected the company was drafted or up for a vote. Countrywide gave VIP loans to former Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd; Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad; and Mary Jane Collipriest, Communications Director for former Senator Robert Bennett, who served on the Banking Committee. Dodd referred Collipriest to the VIP unit....

Fannie Mae’s targeted lobbying campaign supplemented Countrywide’s outreach to Committee Members and staff. The GSE assigned as many as 70 lobbyists to the Financial Services Committee while it considered GSE reform legislation in 2000 – 2005....During the 108th Congress, four GSE reform bills were introduced in the House. None made it out of the Financial Services Committee.
Countrywide also had favorable relationships with key decision makers in the Executive Branch. Two former Secretaries of Housing and Urban Development received VIP loans – Alphonso Jackson and Henry Cisneros. The VIP unit processed Cisneros’s loan after he joined the company’s Board of Directors. Jim Johnson referred former Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala to the VIP unit.

In addition to preferential treatment, Dodd received over $165,000 in contributions from the mortgage entities he oversaw. [9]

Authorizes AIG's plunder of TARP for executive bonuses

Dodd was in charge of financial-services rules for Obama's $787 billion deficit enriching stimulus and the TARP program that bailed out the failed banks and financial institutions he oversaw. Dodd made a public comment feigning criticism for bonuses given to executives of AIG, the insurance giant, saying, "This is another outrageous example of executives -- including those whose decisions were responsible for the problems that caused AIG's collapse -- enriching themselves at the expense of taxpayers." One rule he included was an exemption for contractual obligations prior to Feb 11, 2009, which allowed the AIG bonuses. The exact rule below;

Crack down on bonuses, retention awards and incentive compensation: Bonuses can only be paid in the form of long-term restricted stock, equal to no greater than 1/3 of total annual compensation, and will vest only when taxpayer funds are repaid. There is an exception for contractually obligated bonuses agreed on before Feb. 11, 2009.
Dodd will not take responsibility for the confusion saying his original amendment did not include that exemption. [10]

Dodd was AIG’s largest single recipient of campaign donations during the 2008 election cycle with $103,100.

Political Positions

Corruption

Dodd was for it before he voted against it.

Abortion

Throughout Dodd’s career in the senate he has constantly voted against pro-life legislation, while supporting easier restrictions on abortion. In 1996, 1997, 1999, and 2003, Dodd voted against bills which would reduce partial-birth abortion[11].

Iraq

In 2002, Dodd voted to use force against Iraq. Dodd support the Feingold-Reid proposal- which sets a time table for ending the war in Iraq by March 2008. He does not support sending more troops to Iraq but does support more troops for the war in Afghanistan.

Education

Dodd supported President Bush’s, No Child Left Behind Act in 2001, and now supports its expansion [12]. Dodd’s plan for education system is to increase salaries for teachers to create more incentives. He also is calling for increase federal funding for creating lower interest rates for student loans[13].

Unions

Dodd advocates the pro-union Employee Free Choice Act.

Presidential contender

Going into the race for the 2008 Democratic nomination for president, Dodd was an unknown senator. Only 22% of likely Democratic primary voters had a favorable opinion of Dodd, 20% were unfavorable. Dodd trailed third to last in the polls, with a mere 1% of Democrats for whom he was the first choice He had $7.5 million but withdrew from the race because of his poor finish in the Iowa Caucus. Though Dodd did not officially endorse any candidate.

External Links

References

  1. http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/elections2/election_2010/election_2010_senate_elections/connecticut/election_2010_connecticut_senate_race
  2. Report details Dodd’s Countrywide deal, By Ana Radelat, Connecticut Mirror, July 5, 2012. Dodd was at the time Chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
  3. Countrywide issued hundreds of VIP loans to buy influence, By Les Christie and Rebecca Stewart, CNN, July 5, 2012.
  4. No, George W, Bush did not do it.
  5. Christopher J. Dodd, The Washington Post.
  6. http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2008/07/08/ap5190637.html , AP Dodd's popularity slips in Connecticut , July 8, 2008
  7. http://www.judicialwatch.org/news/2009/dec/judicial-watch-announces-list-washington-s-ten-most-wanted-corrupt-politicians-2009
  8. How Countrywide Used its VIP Loan Program To Influence Washington Policymakers, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, July 5, 2012.
  9. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Invest in Lawmakers, By Lindsay Renick Mayer, September 11, 2008. opensecrets.org. As DNC Chairman, it was Dodd's role to solicit and funnel money from donors to Democrats. Other top liberal Democrats who took money from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are: Barack Obama, $126,000; John Kerry $111,000; Harry Reid $77,000; Hillary Rodham Clinton $76,050; Nancy Pelosi $56,250; and Carolyn Maloney $39,750. Some members also held stock and voted for funds to bailout the government sponsored entities, a possible conflict of interest.
  10. Amid AIG Furor, Dodd Tries to Undo Bonus Protections Fox News, March 17, 2009
  11. http://www.vote-smart.org/voting_category.php?can_id=S0131103
  12. http://www.vote-smart.org/voting_category.php?can_id=53277&type=category&category=27&go.x=11&go.y=17
  13. http://www.chrisdodd.com/issues/education
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