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Paul Kiesel
Paul Kiesel
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Senator Dodd: V.I.P.

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Senator Chris Dodd said Tuesday that he was aware that Countrywide Financial had assigned him to a V.I.P. program in 2003 (the beginning of the subprime boom) when he refinanced his mortgages on his homes in Connecticut and Washington. Sen. Dodd must have assumed that while he and his wife received V.I.P. treatment from Countrywide, that millions of other homeowners were receiving…? Well, Sen. Dodd must know what type of loans they were receiving — they were receiving the subprime loans that have contributed greatly to the mortgage/foreclosure crisis — because those loans that non-V.I.P. mortgagees were getting are at the center of Sen. Dodd’s effort to mitigate the mortgage/foreclosure crisis with his Senate Housing bill. So why did Senator Dodd, who is the Chairman of Senate Banking Committee (which is where one of the housing bills originated), feel that it was okay to accept preferential treatment from Angelo Mozilo, Countrywide Financial and a loan that millions of other homeowners are not privileged enough to receive?

Sen. Dodd is defending himself against strong suggestions (some stark accusations) that he had received preferential treatment from Countrywide and knew that he was getting a special deal on the loan. At a news conference, he denied seeking or receiving any discount from the lender. But at least one of those statements are mistruths; because he did indeed receive preferred treatment from Countrywide, as he’s even said that the type of loan he got was something he saw as a “courtesy thing.”

This news, and everything else that will subsequently develop, is going to adversely affect both the Senate and House bills that are designed to help people that were in loans very dissimilar to the loan Sen. Dodd received from Mozilo’s V.I.P program. (Senate Republicans and their apprehension to Sen. Dodd’s housing bill has grown significantly since this news has broken, threatening to overshadow the foreclosure rescue legislation and possibly killing the bill and effort all together.)

If Sen. Dodd has any interest in saving his bill, thus, rescuing millions of borrowers that have yet to see any fair balance in the government’s role in this crisis (as the Fed and White House have primarily intervened to help Wall Street), he will refinance his mortgage to a rate that is competitive with other prime borrowers or take any other steps necessary to remedy this situation in an appropriate and fair manner.