While this blog has been particularly harsh on Barney Frank, Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, for his responsibility for the mortgage meltdown (here, here, here, here and here), he at least acknowledged the need for regulation of the government-supported enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the current Congress.Â Still, the Massachusetts Democrat remains certainly one of the leading culprits of the collapse.
A Senator, however, perhaps holds the distinction of being the legislator the most to blame for the current catastrophe.Â Like Frank, Connecticut’s Chris Dodd, Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, refuses to admit his role in the crisis.
Indeed, as the Hartford Courant‘s Kevin Rennie reports, the Democrat won’t even “release documents from his $800,000 in sweetheart mortgages from subprime titan Countrywide Financial.“Â A loan he received while he served on the very Senate committee overseeing the lender. Yet, Dodd assures us he would never be subject to improper influence. Okay, fine, Chris, no be open with the public.
That Countrywide employed lobbyists to influence Dodd and his colleagues while the lender lavished benefits on the senator may ensnare him in an ominous encounter with the Senate’s ethics committee. It would be harder for that body to whitewash a violation if the insidious mortgage details are known to a suspicious public.
The customs and expectations of Washington continue to bewilder us. Dodd exemplifies its worst rituals. For example, as the nation’s financial system crumbled earlier in the year, Dodd continued to accept tribute from Wall Street’s falling masters.
Read the rest of this piece and wonder why the national media is not paying as much attention to Dodd’s culpability in this crisis as they are to figures in the private sector. And why the Democrat won’t be more forthcoming about his own sweetheart deal from a failed lender.
And his own failure as a legislator to do anything to forestall the crisis.
UPDATE: Even the New York Times is taking notice of Dodd’s duplicity, opining today that the Connecticut Democrat has failed to keep his promise to “release documents to support his contention that he never benefited financially from the terms of the loans.”