In what can only be described as anti-climatic, Barbara Boxer’s Senate Committee on Ethics declared in a letter on August 7 that even though Chris Dodd was part of a VIP program at Countrywide that “often offered quicker, more efficient loan processing and some discounts” to it’s members, he was not in violation of the Senate ethics rules.
Here’s what I don’t get: no one seems to dispute that Dodd was part of the VIP program due to his status as a US Senator, and being a part of the VIP program got him enhanced customer service (which has a value) and discounts. These benefits were clearly not available to the public at large, or else it would not be a “VIP” program, it would be a “P” program. He got a better deal because he was a Senator then he would have gotten otherwise. If that is not in violation of Senate ethics rules, then the rules are deficient. Not only does it provide an appearance of impropriety, as even the Senate Cover-up Committee found, but it is actual impropriety.
If ethics are defined solely by the U.S. Senate, then maybe Chris Dodd acted ethically. If, however, they have more to do with a moral compass, character and/or common sense, he has been found wanting.
And, oh yeah, he still hasn’t kept his promise to release the records of his mortgages publicly so someone other than friends and colleagues can see them.
Cross-posted at The Artful Doddger.