The Senate Ethics Committee on Friday dropped yearlong investigations into two powerful Senate committee chairmen, Democrats Christopher J. Dodd and Kent Conrad .
The group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington had filed complaints June 13, 2008, against the senators questioning whether they obtained mortgages from Countrywide Financial under more favorable interest rates than generally available because of their official posts.
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But the Ethics Committee, which has three Democratic and three Republican members, unanimously dropped its inquiry into the matter. In four-page letters to each lawmaker signed by all six committee members, the panel said it found “no substantial evidence” that the mortgages violated Senate rules after reviewing 18,000 pages of documents and interviewing witnesses.
The committee, however, said the lawmakers “should have exercised more vigilance” in their dealings with the company.
“There was no ‘sweetheart’ or special deal,” Dodd, D-Conn., said in a statement. “The allegations are and have always been false.”
Dodd has been hurt in his re-election campaign for 2010 by charges that he is too close to the financial industry, which he oversees as chairman of the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.
“I’m confident the people of Connecticut will be glad to know that I’ve been cleared,” Dodd said.
Dodd has refinanced his properties to avoid dealing with Countrywide. On June 1, he got a 30-year loan for $400,000 at 5 percent interest for his home in East Haddam, Conn., through First County Bank. And on Aug. 3, he got a 30-year loan for $417,000 at 5.125 percent interest for his Washington residence from the U.S. Senate Federal Credit Union.
Pfft, who are they kidding, the only reason Sen Dodd or Sen. Conrad got the sweetheart deals they did is because they’re Senators… Birds of a feather flock together (and cover each others tail feathers).