Dodd controversies continue to swirlBy Bill Allison Mar 23 2009 12:35 p.m.
Sen. Christopher Dodd is getting criticism from out-of-state ">papers (but note the all the Connecticut residents quoted) over the AIG bonus bungle, but the Hartford Courant ran what might be the most significant story (hat tip: Instapundit, who has a lot more on Dodd):
An executive at mortgage giant Countrywide Financial overrode the company's loan-writing policies to give a discount to Sen. Christopher Dodd, the powerful chairman of the Senate banking committee, according to an internal Countrywide document turned over to congressional investigators and obtained by The Courant.
The Courant notes that the report, some 63 pages long, is from House Republicans on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee -- the whole thing is here. I think it's significant because we're beginning to get more detail about how Countrywide Financial's programs worked:
An internal "Loan Policy Analysis" of Dodd's mortgages shows that Countrywide's underwriting rules called for an interest rate of 4.875 percent on both loans, with fees equal to three-eighths of a point on one loan, and a quarter-point on the other. A point is equal to 1 percent of the borrowed amount, and for both mortgages, those up-front fees would have totaled about $2,500.
But the computerized record includes a second column showing what Dodd and his wife, Jackie Clegg, were actually charged. In that column, the points had been eliminated.
According to investigators, Countrywide's computer system required a manual override to implement loan terms more favorable than the company's standard underwriting policy. In Dodd's computer files, in a column labeled "Reason For Override," is the designation: "CMD Approved" " which investigators say is shorthand for approval by a Countrywide managing director. Similar overrides are noted in loan documents for many other VIPs, investigators said.
Kevin Rennie, meanwhile, raises more questions about Dodd's Irish "cottage," also in the Hartford Courant. Note that he uses FedSpending.org. One thing about Dodd's various purchases of 1/3 or 1/2 of a piece of property--he's not the only lawmaker to do this, and the practice raises questions in my mind every time I see it. (Seeing that House Speaker Dennis Hastert owned a 1/4 share of 69 acres in Plano, IL was what sent me off on a trail that resulted in the Praire Parkway story.
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