" But three pages is more than Dodd's been willing to disclose about his $800,000 in loans from Countrywide. Three months ago, Dodd said he would release documents related to those sweetheart deals. Two months ago, he said he would release documents after President Bush signed the first mortgage bailout bill, which became law at the end of July. Still no disclosure from Dodd


During the last two weeks of unsettling events, the same people who had a hand in creating the mess have expected the public to believe they can find the way out.

The world's financial markets would have avoided a right royal roiling if everyone was on Sen. Christopher Dodd's financial plan circa 2003. Taxpayers would not be shuddering at a $700 billion tab to bail out high rollers who got it wrong while making their fortunes. Instead, like Dodd, borrowers would have cut-rate 4.25 percent mortgages with thousands in fees waived.

Mortgage defaults would be fewer if dodgy customers got the velvet glove treatment extended to Dodd and other VIPs on the "Friends of Angelo" list maintained at Countrywide Financial by co-founder Angelo Mozilo. Countrywide collapsed and was taken over by Bank of America in June.

Any candid analysis of the road to this parlous state implicates officials in Washington and their cozy relationships. Public records show, for example, that Dodd, chairman of the Senate banking committee, received more campaign contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac employees than any other member of Congress. He is third on the list of Bank of America-related donations after Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

There are other insidious ties that aren't subject to regular disclosure. Connections such as Dodd's three mortgages with Countrywide, which were exempt from Senate ethics disclosure rules.

Last week, Dodd declared the chilling three-page Treasury bailout proposal "stunning and unprecedented in its scope and lack of detail." But three pages is more than Dodd's been willing to disclose about his $800,000 in loans from Countrywide. Three months ago, Dodd said he would release documents related to those sweetheart deals. Two months ago, he said he would release documents after President Bush signed the first mortgage bailout bill, which became law at the end of July. Still no disclosure from Dodd.

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