Senator Chris Dodd's reelection bid received a boost today with word that the Senate ethics committee has cleared him of breaking rules in receiving VIP mortgages from Countrywide.
The Select Committee on Ethics told the Connecticut Democrat in a letter that after a yearlong investigation, it found "no substantial credible evidence" that his Countrywide mortgages in 2003, refinancing his home in Connecticut and another residence in Washington, broke Senate gift rules, the Associated Press reports.
"I'm pleased and gratified that the Democrats and Republicans on the Ethics Committee have dismissed this complaint and found that the underlying accusations simply were not credible," Dodd, who plans a news conference this afternoon, said in a statement. "I understand that my reaction to those false allegations only served to foster cynicism. And that was my fault."
The panel also cleared Senator Kent Conrad, who received two Countrywide mortgages in 2004, one for a beach house in Delaware and another for an eight-unit apartment building in Bismarck, N.D.
The letters tell both Dodd and Conrad that even though they didn't break any rules, the committee believes they should have been more careful in their dealings with Countrywide to avoid the appearance they were receiving sweetheart deals because they were senators, the AP says.
Both senators have said that at the time the mortgages were being written they didnít know they were getting unique deals from Countrywide, a company that lost billions of dollars on bad loans and since has been purchased by Bank of America.
Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, is facing a tough reelection fight. Last week, he announced that he is receiving treatment for early-stage prostate cancer but plans to seek another term.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.