Dodd Man Walking – Part 2 – Simmons responds

The troubles continue to mount for Chris Dodd and it’s not jut this amazing piece in today’s Washington Times either.

As Democrats prepared to take control of Congress after the 2006 elections, a top boss at the insurance giant American International Group Inc. told colleagues that Sen. Christopher J. Dodd was seeking re-election donations and he implored company executives and their spouses to give.

The message in the Nov. 17, 2006, e-mail from Joseph Cassano, AIG Financial Products chief executiveve, was unmistakable: Mr. Dodd was “next in line” to be chairman of the Senate Banking …

While Steve correctly points out that the donations come from individuals, in this case they did so at the insistence of an AIG executive with the clear intent of getting the company on the good side of the Chairman of  the Senate Banking Committee. 

Nothing here indicates that AIG was buying Dodd, or that he could be bought, but it calls into question how much independence a Senator can have when his coffers are being filled by the very company he must help regulate. But the troubles for Dodd are just the beginning.

The same is true with the  VIP Countrywide Mortgages. No indication, at least right now, that Countrywide bought anything for its sweetheart mortgage arrangement with Dodd, but its clear Countrywide thought it did, as did AIG. Once is bad, twice is deadly for a man who is in charge of regulating the industry.

Combine this with his wife’s connection to AIG and his real estates dealings with a felon, and you have a pattern.

Rob Simmons has emerged as a leading candidate for the Republicans because he is willing to speak out and point out that it doesn’t much matter what Dodd did or did not know, in his position he should have known what these two financial giants were trying to do and should have stopped their efforts long ago. Jim Geraghty spoke with Simmons.

“This is a classic case of the conflict of interest that exists when a powerful chairman of an oversight committee puts himself in a position to shake down the people he oversees — and it is a shakedown,” Simmons said. “It’s inappropriate, and it violates the public trust. I believe public office is a public trust — that’s what I learned in the army, and what I’ve followed throughout my career, when I worked for Senator [John] Chafee of Rhode Island and Senator [Barry] Goldwater. You have to hold yourself to a higher standard.”

He is right of course and nothing Dodd can do can erase the fact that he and his staff got careless at best and quite possibly much worse. Chris Dodd has become a symbol of old style politics, where people enter modestly paid statesmen and leave with generous pensions, lavish lifestyles and a full bank account. Or as my grandmother used to say to me … “Jimmy, they always leave with more than they came in with.” Indeed.