The Blog of the Frances Perkins Center

Senator Conrad — shaving points and shaving programs

In Political world on January 6, 2010 at 10:51 am

Back in 2008, this scandal broke:

Two U.S. senators, two former Cabinet members, and a former ambassador to the United Nations received loans from Countrywide Financial through a little-known program that waived points, lender fees, and company borrowing rules for prominent people.

Senators Christopher Dodd, Democrat from Connecticut and chairman of the Banking Committee, and Kent Conrad, Democrat from North Dakota, chairman of the Budget Committee and a member of the Finance Committee, refinanced properties through Countrywide’s “V.I.P.” program in 2003 and 2004, according to company documents and emails and a former employee familiar with the loans.

[from’s Countrywide’s Many ‘Friends’.]

Today the Times reported this about Dodd, who’s not seeking re-election:

But his standing in Connecticut had been on the decline starting when he made an unsuccessful run for the presidency in 2008 — moving his family to Iowa — and when questions arose about a disputed loan he took from Countrywide Financial, the fallen subprime company.

So, what’s been the political fallout of the Countrywide scandal on Senator Conrad? Hard to say. His next election is not until 2012. But it’s interesting to note that he’s teamed with Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) to force the formation of the commission that would cut social programs in the cause of “deficit reduction.” (More about that here.)

There’s some consistency in Senator Conrad’s ideas about saving money — shaving points on sweetheart mortgages and shaving programs that sustain the rest of us through hard times — both ideas are ethically challenged.

Perhaps he’ll end up paying the price eventually.


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