Most ethical Congress in History? Umm, yeah, not so much… Jim Geraghty has the list, starting with Connecticut’s own Chris Dodd:
SEN. CHRIS DODD (D., CONN.): Dodd is most notably and recently in trouble for the provision of the stimulus bill that ensured that already-existing contracts for bonuses at companies receiving federal bailout money would be honored. In an interview with CNN, he initially denied any role in the provision.
As chair of the Senate Banking Committee, Dodd tried to put together federal aid for the then-troubled mortgage lender Countrywide Financial. Dodd’s homes in Connecticut and Washington, D.C., were refinanced to below-market rates under the “Friends of Angelo” program (meaning he was a friend of then-CEO Angelo Mozilo). He did not disclose the refinance in the six financial-disclosure statements he’s filed since then and has failed to keep promises to release more information about them. He later said he knew he was part of the company’s “VIP” program, but he didn’t know being a part of the VIP program meant he would receive favorable mortgage terms. (Really.) Those noted anti-Democrat partisans on the New York Times editorial board have declared “his excuses are wearing ridiculously thin.”
NRO and the Los Angeles Times have reported that Dodd’s financial bailout legislation was “exactly what Bank of America and Countrywide wanted.”
In Dodd’s Senate ethics filings, he has repeatedly listed the value of his “cottage” in Ireland as between $100,001 and $250,000. Others have assessed the value of the property at $1 million or more. He bought it with a Missouri businessman who was friends with a felon convicted of insider trading. Dodd helped secure the felon a pardon from President Clinton, and later bought his partner’s two-thirds share of the property for $127,000.
In summer of 2008, when he was responsible for oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Dodd argued that to “suggest they are in major trouble is not accurate.” Fannie and Freddie employees donated $133,900 to Dodd since 1989, more to him than to any other lawmaker.
Others on the list include Jack Murtha, Charlie Rangel, Bill Richardson & Dianne Feinstein.