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Sen. Chris Dodd took millions from now-failing finance firms he oversees

September 29, 2008 |  7:06 pm

Maybe some of you remember Chris Dodd, the white-haired Democratic senator from Connecticut who actually moved his family to Iowa to win his party's presidential caucus last winter.

But didn't.

So Dodd returned to the U.S. Senate as chairman of the powerful Banking Committee, where he'd promised to protect "the safety and soundness of our financial institutions."

Democratic Connecticut Senator and former presidential candidate Chris Dodd who's received millions in donations from troubled financial firms he was to be overseeing according to a Hartford Courant investigation endorsing Illinois Senator Barack Obama who's vowed to reform such lobbying practices

Well, as we've all seen in recent days with chaos in the financial markets -- collapsed firms, collapsed deals to protect financial firms -- that Dodd promise turned out real well.

Turns out, according to our esteemed corporate colleagues over at the Hartford Courant, meanwhile, things have turned out real swell financially for Dodd himself.

In an investigative story by Matthew Kaufman and Jesse A. Hamilton, the newspaper reveals that although Dodd was a presidential also-ran in terms of votes, in terms of cash money he ranks among the top five receivers of donations from the nation's now-troubled financial sector.

"During the past 20 years," the Courant reports, "PACs and employees of finance-related firms have contributed more than $13 million to Dodd's election efforts, including nearly $6 million in the past two years."

That's $250,000 per month from people who expect legislative protection. That kinda money oughta cover the electric bills, anyway.

Additionally, Portfolio.com reported in June that Dodd was among a select group of public officials who quietly received preferential loans that waived points, fees and company rules at Countrywide Financial.

Dodd's party has controlled both houses of Congress for the last two years. And although Dodd elbows his way to the front of any photos of congressional Democrats allegedly trying to solve the current crisis, the five-term senator is facing mounting criticism that he and others did way too little, too late to prevent this money meltdown.

As one representative of Common Cause diagnosed the situation for the newspaper, "We have a system where the special interests that give the most money tend to get policies out of Congress that are beneficial to them."

Doesn't that sound familiar? Wait, that's one of the major political planks of another senator, Barack Obama, the Iowa caucus victor, and his vice presidential running mate, six-term senator Joe Biden, both of whom Dodd has now endorsed.

The Courant has the rest of this fact-filled, revealing article here.

--Andrew Malcolm

Photo: CNN

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