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Sen. Dodd denies special deal from Countrywide

June 18, 2008|From the Associated Press

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher J. Dodd acknowledged Tuesday that he knew in 2003 that Countrywide Financial Corp. placed him in a "VIP section" when the firm reportedly gave him preferential rates on two mortgages.

But he denied he knew he was getting any special deal and said he didn't plan to give up the loans.

"I'm not clairvoyant," Dodd (D-Conn.) said. "There was no red flag to me that we were getting some special treatment."

Revelations that Dodd and Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), the Budget Committee chairman, got cut-rate mortgages through a VIP program for friends of Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo muddled Democrats' message as they push to complete a massive foreclosure rescue package before Congress breaks for a July 4 recess.

The package, which also includes tighter regulation for government-sponsored mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and an array of tax breaks, could come to a Senate vote this week.

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