Thursday, October 16, 2008

Christopher Dodd should testify under oath himself today

In February 2004, while Republican colleagues warned of the systemic risks posed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Mr. Dodd pronounced the mortgage market "one of the great success stories of all time." A year later, the Connecticut Democrat voted against a reform that would have limited the size of Fan and Fred's mortgage portfolios. Now that Fan and Fred have collapsed at a cost to taxpayers that could run to $200 billion or more, Mr. Dodd is also under fire for accepting sweetheart loans from Countrywide Financial, the subprime mortgage factory.

At today's hearing, his mission is to weave a tale that somehow manages to avoid mentioning his own role in this debacle. That won't be easy, but Mr. Dodd has shrewdly selected a series of witnesses who, like him, contributed to the mess, and have every incentive to point fingers elsewhere.

The witness we'd like to see Mr. Dodd call is former Countrywide Financial loan officer Robert Feinberg. Last week Mr. Feinberg told us that Mr. Dodd knowingly saved thousands of dollars refinancing two properties, thanks to his status as a "friend" of former Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo. Or perhaps he could subpoena House counterpart Barney Frank to explain what he meant when he said in 2003 that he wanted to "roll the dice" with Fannie and Freddie's mortgage businesses. Finally, Mr. Dodd could put himself on the stand, and let the poor, beleaguered taxpayers question him -- under oath.

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