Hartford/Washington (WTNH) - Sen. Chris Dodd did a live interview with Chief CapitolCorrespondent Mark Davis and said he did not know he was gettingspecial treatment when he re-financed his Connecticut andWashington homes with Countrywide Mortgage.
Here is the interview, following these allegations, with Davison July 28th at 4:05 p.m.
Davis: "You have to admit that it's somewhat damaging to havethis report come out; that this high-ranking official, withCountrywide, contradicts what you have been saying all alongregarding the VIP treatment at Countrywide before the Senate EthicsCommittee."
Dodd: "Well certainly Mark, you've made the same allegations for14 months; it's the same allegation, one that was made last June,by this one individual. I've answered it over and over again andthat is that I would never, have never, would never accept any kindof a deal from a company like that to have a lower rate. We wentout shopping, during the period of refinancing, as millions ofpeople did in the spring of 2003, when the rates were the lowestthey were in almost 50-years. And, we did what millions of othershad done, we shopped for better rates. [With] Countrywide, wenegotiated one that was competitive. There were actually lowerrates available than the ones we received; it's a privilege torepresent my state, the United States Senate for 30-years [and] Iwould never compromise that privilege by accepting a lower rate orsome offer or a sweetheart deal from any lending institution; it'soffensive to me that people might think I'd do it. I want people toknow that I would never do that, never, and didn't in this case atall."
Davis: "When will the Ethics Committee rule on this matter?"
Dodd: "It's been a year; it this were a trial someplace you'dhave had it resolved by now. They asked me for information one yearago this month. They have all the information they've sought. Then,they never asked for anything else; I'm hanging out there with theallegations."
Davis: "If I were a Senator, this would have blown off somewhistles for me, when they said you can declare both yourConnecticut, and Washington, homes as primary, owner-occupiedresidences. Banks don't do that for everybody. Did that set off anyalarms?"
Dodd: "No, because there's nothing unusual; this is not avacation home. I spend five-days a week here [Washington, D.C.] andthen I work back home as well."
Davis: "Yes, Senator, but you can only have a primary residencewhere you vote and that's here [Connecticut]. So, then, why didthey make that accommodation for you?"
Dodd: "Well, I'm told, there's nothing unusual about that atall. Because you work in both places and this is not a vacationhome...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 thisreport? And, in fact, they may not release anything, isn't thatcorrect?"
Dodd: "Well, I don't know. Again, I've never raised the issuespecifically with any member of the committee because I felt thatwould be, in a sense, a violation of ethics. If I started lobbyingthe Ethics Committee about when they're going to release thereport, 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 ithurts terribly."
Davis: "We know you made some gains, with Democrats, in the lastQuinnipiac Poll which may be a reflection of some of the workyou've been doing. But there's still a lot of displeasure with youout there. Are you still planning on running next year?"
Dodd: "Oh yes, I am. It's about 18-months away and I'm workinghard on the issues that impact people's lives...and I'll keep ondoing that."
Davis: "Can you think of any situation where you might notdecide to run?"
Dodd: "Not at this point, Mark, no."
Democrat Merrick Alpert officially announced he was challengingDodd in May. Today, he flat out said that Dodd is lying about hisVIP treatment from Countrywide.
"To get a sweetheart mortgage, or in his case, two, and then tolie about it, repeatedly, is not acceptable," said Alpert.
Alpert, a 42-year-old successful businessman, has loaned hiscampaign $80,000 to get started; he's not wealthy but thinksDemocrats will slowly realize that Dodd is a lost cause and thathis challenge is an opening for the party.
"If you look at Senator Dodd against any of the Republicans inthe Quinnipiac Poll he loses to every Republican; all they have todo is put up a live body and that person beats Chris Dodd," saidAlpert.
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