Chris Dodd has had a few days he'd rather forget over the last few months, but I don't know that any have been as bad as today. It cannot be comfortable when virtually everyone, on both sides, is pointing the finger at you for something as unpopular as the Dodd Amendment has quickly become.
When it comes to Dodd, I am much more bothered by the fact that he lied about his role in the whole thing than what the amendment said or who wrote it. There is no longer any reason to believe anything he says, from his claim he didn't know he was getting a VIP loan from his buddy, to his questionable real estate dealings with a convicted felon he got a pardon for, to the real story behind the drafting of the legislative in question now.
Anyway, here is some of what Dodd was reading today:
US Conservative Politics:
As chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Dodd's made some highly suspicious decisions. He's a walking ethics nightmare. I'm guessing that if he thought about it at all, he never imagined his behind-the-back maneuver (the one where he slipped the bonus loophole into the stimulus package) would come back to haunt him, but with all the attention being paid to these gigantic corporations, how could he not? Dodd is that rare breed of politician who is either too greedy to serve the people or too dumb to swindle them. Either way, he shouldn't be in office.
It seems that there's one Democrat who really should be afraid. If you listened closely yesterday in the Capitol, it's possible you heard the sound of Chris Dodd's career coming to an end. Too harsh an assessment? Perhaps, but it's hard to overstate how badly the Connecticut senator stepped in it when he admitted that he had put language in the stimulus bill ensuring that contractual bonuses were paid out at companies receiving bailout money, a day after saying he didn't know how the language got it.
Rob Simmons in the Hartford Courant:
I can't believe the chairman of a committee can take a bill to the floor and speak in favor of it and vote on it without knowing what's in it. The issue of executive compensation is obviously an important issue...you would think someone's reading the language of the bill.
Dodd's apparent strategy is contrition: He apologized to Blitzer over any "confusion" he may have caused with his lie. And he also announced his intention to return all donations from AIG executives. It may work, but because of his own mendacity, this episode has strengthened a growing reputation as a well-rewarded shill for the banks and mortgage lenders that ruined the country. He was regarded as a "special customer" of Countrywide Financial by CEO Angelo Mozilo, and received a sweetheart interest rate on his home mortgage. Dodd says he was unaware that he got special treatment, but how do you know whether to believe him?
"We are outraged to learn that Sen. Dodd, at the behest of the Obama administration, inserted a last-minute loophole into the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that allowed AIG employees to receive exorbitant bonuses at the American taxpayers' expense, and the vast majority of elected officials, not to mention the American public, missed the amendment because they only had 13 hours to read the bill!" the Sunlight Foundation commented today.
Senator Chris Dodd revealed yesterday he was the one who removed the language preventing things like the AIG bonuses from happening, and he should resign. These are the kind of politicians we don't need representing us. Dodd heads the Senate Banking Committee, a position too important for this career politician. While I may enjoy his comments and personality, this is about principle. President Obama talked about changing the way Washington works, and what Dodd did is exactly what's wrong with Congress. To be in Washington for 34 years and to make this blunder is unforgivable. I've had it with the incompetence. Dodd will be lucky to win re-election in Connecticut in 2010.
Stepping back for a second, Chris Dodd is already in a bit of trouble in his reelection bid, based on recent polling. Obviously, this further complicates matters. Dodd is now directly associated with two of the most distasteful aspects of the current financial meltdown: getting a sweetheart mortgage from the CEO of a company that was a major player in the subprime mess, and now authoring the loophole that allowed AIG to pay $165 million in bonuses after already taking scores of billions of bailout dollars, all at taxpayers expense.
Not a good day.
Cross-posted at The Artful Doddger.