The Corner

Dodd Was Informed of “V.I.P.” Status

From the New York Times:

WASHINGTON — Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut said Tuesday that he was aware that Countrywide Financial Corporation had assigned him to a V.I.P. program in 2003 when he refinanced mortgages on his homes in Connecticut and Washington but that he and his wife “assumed” that “it was more of a courtesy thing.” […]

“Somebody told you you were in a V.I.P. program,” a reporter said, “And you didn’t think you were getting … ”

Mr. Dodd cut off the reporter and finished the question himself. “A special deal on a loan?” the senator asked. “No.”

The Editors weighed in today on why the Senate should take no action on Dodd’s housing bailout bill pending a further investigation:

The Dodd-Shelby housing-bailout bill would be bad public policy under any conditions. Lenders are already under severe pressure to write down loans for borrowers who still have a chance to make it. The bill is overwhelming slanted toward protecting lenders, like Countrywide, that lowered their standards dramatically on a bet that home prices would never go down and subsequently find themselves holding a lot of bad debt.

Congress should launch a full investigation of Countrywide’s program to influence the powerful; that much should go without saying. But if the Senate passes the Dodd-Shelby housing bailout before such an investigation can run its course — especially if that investigation finds that members of Congress were improperly influenced — it will have allowed Countrywide to take the money and run.

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