Updated: Tuesday, 28 Jul 2009, 10:24 PM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 28 Jul 2009, 4:53 PM EDT
Hartford/Washington (WTNH) - Sen. Chris Dodd did a live interview with Chief Capitol Correspondent Mark Davis and said he did not know he was getting special treatment when he re-financed his Connecticut and Washington homes with Countrywide Mortgage.
Here is the interview, following these allegations, with Davis on July 28th at 4:05 p.m.
Davis: "You have to admit that it's somewhat damaging to have this report come out; that this high-ranking official, with Countrywide, contradicts what you have been saying all along regarding the VIP treatment at Countrywide before the Senate Ethics Committee."
Dodd: "Well certainly Mark, you've made the same allegations for 14 months; it's the same allegation, one that was made last June, by this one individual. I've answered it over and over again and that is that I would never, have never, would never accept any kind of a deal from a company like that to have a lower rate. We went out shopping, during the period of refinancing, as millions of people did in the spring of 2003, when the rates were the lowest they were in almost 50-years. And, we did what millions of others had done, we shopped for better rates. [With] Countrywide, we negotiated one that was competitive. There were actually lower rates available than the ones we received; it's a privilege to represent my state, the United States Senate for 30-years [and] I would never compromise that privilege by accepting a lower rate or some offer or a sweetheart deal from any lending institution; it's offensive to me that people might think I'd do it. I want people to know that I would never do that, never, and didn't in this case at all."
Davis: "When will the Ethics Committee rule on this matter?"
Dodd: "It's been a year; it this were a trial someplace you'd have had it resolved by now. They asked me for information one year ago this month. They have all the information they've sought. Then, they never asked for anything else; I'm hanging out there with the allegations."
Davis: "If I were a Senator, this would have blown off some whistles for me, when they said you can declare both your Connecticut, and Washington, homes as primary, owner-occupied residences. Banks don't do that for everybody. Did that set off any alarms?"
Dodd: "No, because there's nothing unusual; this is not a vacation home. I spend five-days a week here [Washington, D.C.] and then I work back home as well."
Davis: "Yes, Senator, but you can only have a primary residence where you vote and that's here [Connecticut]. So, then, why did they make that accommodation for you?"
Dodd: "Well, I'm told, there's nothing unusual about that at all. Because you work in both places and this is not a vacation home...that's the answer that I've been given."
Davis: "Alright, so there's nothing you can tell us about when, after a year, the Ethics Committee will finally release this report? And, in fact, they may not release anything, isn't that correct?"
Dodd: "Well, I don't know. Again, I've never raised the issue specifically with any member of the committee because I felt that would be, in a sense, a violation of ethics. If I started lobbying the Ethics Committee about when they're going to release the report, and what are they going to say, that in itself, in my view, is an ethics violation; I'd love to have this resolved because it hurts terribly."
Davis: "We know you made some gains, with Democrats, in the last Quinnipiac Poll which may be a reflection of some of the work you've been doing. But there's still a lot of displeasure with you out there. Are you still planning on running next year?"
Dodd: "Oh yes, I am. It's about 18-months away and I'm working hard on the issues that impact people's lives...and I'll keep on doing that."
Davis: "Can you think of any situation where you might not decide to run?"
Dodd: "Not at this point, Mark, no."
Democrat Merrick Alpert officially announced he was challenging Dodd in May. Today, he flat out said that Dodd is lying about his VIP treatment from Countrywide.
"To get a sweetheart mortgage, or in his case, two, and then to lie about it, repeatedly, is not acceptable," said Alpert.
Alpert, a 42-year-old successful businessman, has loaned his campaign $80,000 to get started; he's not wealthy but thinks Democrats will slowly realize that Dodd is a lost cause and that his challenge is an opening for the party.
"If you look at Senator Dodd against any of the Republicans in
the Quinnipiac Poll he loses to every Republican; all they have to
do is put up a live body and that person beats Chris Dodd," said