The New York Post asked me to write a column for today’s paper on Chris Dodd’s bait and switch tactics regarding his Friends of Angelo mortgages.  The idea that a refi on loans now has nothing to do with Dodd’s conflicts of interest and Countrywide’s influence peddling when Dodd got the loans:

Dodd, the chairman of the Banking Committee, announced this week that he’ll have the mortgages refinanced and managed by a third party to protect against allegations of influence peddling.

Problem is, this doesn’t negate any prior influence peddling. It’s akin to closing the barn door after the horse has bolted, torn down the fences and set the farm on fire.

The influence-peddling took place when Dodd got the special deal from Countrywide – and the shenanigans that Dodd & Co. allowed Countrywide and other irresponsible subprime lenders to engage in have already burned down the US economy.

Dodd promised last summer that he’d release all of his mortgage documentation to the public. He’s now in his seventh month of failing to deliver. This week, Dodd released some of the papers – but only to a select group of reporters, who weren’t allowed to make copies.

The long wait suggests that Dodd has something to hide. The incomplete “disclosure” and the refinancing, meanwhile, look more like an attempt to bury evidence than a sudden commitment to clean government.

Loan Zen notes that the refinancing of the two mortgages isn’t exactly a big sacrifice for Dodd, either (via Michelle):

So let’s ponder this scenario friends. You’re the head of one of the most powerful committees in the world. You get a sweetheart deal from the tannest man in America on not one but two mortgages. Someone discloses the “less than fair” deal after the market turns to pixy dust. You throw a news conference admitting you’re wrong and that you’ll make it better by refi-ing out. You go ahead and refinance at market historic lows — paying 2 points on both deals — at the rate of 4.375% for a 30 year fixed loan. You walk away saving $7,325.69 per year on your mortgages. Now this is a beautiful country.

Be sure to read my entire column … click on all the advertisements … and write letters to the editor extolling my brilliance.  I’m not saving $7300 a year on my mortgages, after all.

Tags: New York