Chris Dodd has decided that the best way to put his sweetheart deals with Countrywide Mortgage behind him is to make them disappear. Dodd announced today that he will have those mortgages refinanced, and managed by a third party to protect against allegations of influence peddling:
Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd says he’ll refinance two mortgages that he received through a VIP program from Countrywide Financial Corp.
Dodd told reporters Monday that the mortgages for his homes in Washington and East Haddam, Conn., will be refinanced with a different company.
That doesn’t solve the problem. First, as Glenn Reynolds constantly reminds us, Dodd still has yet to make the mortgage papers public as he promised over six months ago. This looks like an attempt at a bait-and-switch to avoid the public disclosure of records that would show Dodd as knowingly accepting these sweetheart deals at below-market rates as a gift from a company that Dodd oversaw. Given the long wait we’ve had for that full disclosure, I’d say that Dodd realizes he has something to hide.
Refinancing now has nothing to do with investigating whether influence peddling took place before, either. If anything, it looks more like an attempt to bury the evidence than of a sudden commitment to clean government. The issue isn’t that Dodd has the mortgages now, it’s that he accepted them at all. Frankly, he could keep the mortgages as they are; that’s not the issue. The issue is whether Dodd sold out on his oversight responsibilities for personal financial gain, not the size of his mortgage payments.
In a Senate run by Democrats, though, this will be the equivalent of a Geithner/Daschle “I apologize for being an incompetent”‘ defense, and will succeed. Remember when Democrats ran on the “culture of corruption”? Looks like they intended on expanding it.