Christopher Keating reports on the Capitol Watch blog for The Hartford Courant that Dodd, the younger, refinanced two 30-year mortgage loans from Countrywide Financial Corp. in 2003.
Countrywide was America's biggest mortgage lender. Countrywide's business model was to write mortgages through its network of offices around the country and package them into mortgage backed bonds. It got itself into financial trouble when it found it could no longer tap short term credit markets to provide bridge financing while it marketed these bonds. That was further aggrevated when investors became reluctant to buy them.
Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's exposure to Countrywide was substantial. Bernard Ducalion tells us, "During the first nine months of 2007, Countrywide accounted for about 29% of Fannie’s single-family business volume (Page 106 of 10-Q)."
Countrywide's chairman and chief executive officer, Angelo Mozilo, personally handled Dodd's refinancing. This was under a special procedure for high profile loans called the "Friends of Angelo" program. "Dodd refinanced his Washington townhouse with a loan of $506,000 and refinanced his East Haddam home for $275,042." Conde Nast Portfolio estimates that the favorable rates accorded the then ranking member of the Finacial Services Committee were valuable: "The Conde Nast article stated that Dodd's 30-year loans were both designed to be at 4.875 percent, but the East Haddam loan was reduced to 4.5 percent and the Washington loan was dropped to 4.25 percent. Over the life of the loans, that saved the Dodds about $58,000 on their Washington home and $17,000 on the East Haddam home, according to the article. Countrywide also waived three-eighths of a point on one loan and one quarter of a point on the other."
The Center for Responsive Politics has tracked the cumulative contributions since 1989 from those associated with Fannie and Freddie. Senator is #1. Interestingly, Sen. Obama, although handicaped with only four years in Congress, has leapfrogged over the other 533 members of the House and Senate to achieve #2. Sen. McCain, however, appears to be in their now nationalized GSEs' doghouse. He has gotten less than one sixth what Obama has gotten and that is over a period five times as long:
All Recipients of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Campaign Contributions, 1989-2008
|Name||Office||State||Party||Grand Total|| Total from |
| Total from |
|Dodd, Christopher J||S||CT||D||$165,400||$48,500||$116,900|
|Bennett, Robert F||S||UT||R||$107,999||$71,499||$36,500|
|Kanjorski, Paul E||H||PA||D||$96,000||$57,500||$38,500|
|Bond, Christopher S 'Kit'||S||MO||R||$95,400||$64,000||$31,400|
|Shelby, Richard C||S||AL||R||$80,000||$23,000||$57,000|