Monday, June 23, 2008

Don't Like the Law? Write Your Own Bill!!

Tim Carney is a fellow who likes to demonstrate that the US Government and Big Biz (Hudge and Gudge, for you Chestertonians) are very, very, very tight. It started with Alexander Hamilton, by the way, and continues today.

So this is no surprise, particularly if you've read this blog.

"We call it the 'Bank of America bill on steroids.'" A House staffer told me that, demanding anonymity, but speaking on behalf of aides to GOP members of the House Financial Services Committee.

He was talking about the bill whose Senate version has been brought to the floor this week by Sen. Chris Dodd, D-CN, and Sen. Richard Shelby, R-AL. Dodd-Shelby would let mortgage lenders off the hook for bad loans, shifting the burden ultimately to taxpayers. Dodd has received approximately $70,000 in campaign contributions from Bank of America in the last year-and-a-half.

...Some journalists and Republican lawmakers are asking if Countrywide bought a bailout bill with its VIP loans to Dodd, who is chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. But when asking cui bono? about Dodd's bill, we need to look to Bank of America.

Countrywide's VIP loan to Dodd, which saves the Banking Committee chairman $75,000 over 30 years, smells like a potential quid-pro-quo now that Dodd has pushed a bill that will save the company from itself, but what about Bank of America's behavior?

Bank of America's political action committee (PAC) has donated $20,000 to Dodd since he became chairman of the banking panel 17 months ago. From January 2007 to March 2008, Bank of America employees have donated at least $50,400 to Dodd's campaigns, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. So, while Dodd's sweetheart loan from Countrywide saves him personally $200 per month, his chairmanship earns him politically more than $1,000 per week.

It is good to be Chairman.

It's even better to have lobbyists who write legislation.

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