The hypocrisy of Senator Christopher Dodd amazes me. Why?
The president joined politicians such as Senator Christopher Dodd, who today called for using “every possible legal means to get the money back.” The bonus pool for 2008 by New York City financial companies was the sixth-largest ever amid record losses in the securities industry, State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said in a report yesterday. (link)
So what’s the big deal?
It’s been over seven months since it was revealed that Senate Banking Committee chairman Christopher Dodd (D., Conn.) got a sweetheart deal on his Washington, D.C., townhouse directly from Angelo Mozilo, the CEO of troubled subprime-mortgage lender Countrywide Financial. Participating in the “Friends of Angelo” program saved Dodd about $75,000 on his mortgage, and raised more than a few eyebrows about whether Dodd should be accepting such hefty gifts from entities he’s tasked with overseeing and regulating. (link)
To be clear, Dodd wants all those naughty Wall Street peeps to give back their bonuse, but I see nothing in the news about him offering to make up the $75,000 break he received from a company involved directly in the current economic mess.
I believe we should be asking hard questions asked about Wall Street bonuses paid out in 2008, particularly if they were paid with tax dollars. However, I find it tacky that one individual who is doing so sees nothing wrong with receiving what amounts to a questionable bonus.
If we’re truly suffering from a “crisis of confidence,” according to Dodd, then how do his actions help counteract that confidence? Don’t talk to me about how Wall Street should behave when it’s still unclear whether your hands are any cleaner.
Change Congress Makes Sense
Dodd’s case is neither unusual nor limited to either political party. What makes this situation so frustrating is the lack of transparency. One of the reasons I’m enchanted (yes, enchanted) with Larry Lessig’s Change Congress movement is it’s position “that politicians should work for the people, not special interests.” You can’t get much more transparent. Even more powerful is its acknowledgment that the system itself has to be reformed in order for change to happen.
Currently, Change Congress is calling for a donor strike and they’ve hit the $500,000 mark:
“I’m pledging not to donate to any federal candidate unless they support legislation making congressional elections citizen-funded, not special-interest funded.”
This language gives me confidence in the potential for my government to be better than it is today. Dodd calling for “every possible legal means” does not instill confidence because his actions bely the words. Whether you agree with President Obama’s agenda, one piece that we can all get behind, regardless of affiliation, is that things need to change. What are you doing to effect that change?