Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Spot The Scandal

Instapundit is highlighting this story about Christopher Dodd and his cosy Irish cottage. The "cottage" is actually quite sizable and is located in a fashionable weekend retreat area in the Irish countryside. Reynolds points to this passage:

Check out the picture of Dodd's "cottage" (provided to me by Rennie), where he spends summers and which is looked after during the rest of the year by a caretaker. It's not exactly the humble tumbledown abode with a leaky thatched roof, a fireplace with peat thrown on it and donkey tethered outside that the Senator might like you to envisage.

The nearby village of Roundstone is a celebrity hangout. When he's there, the Sunday Times reported in 2007, he's likely to "rub shoulders with [RTE's] Pat Kenny, Bill Whelan of Riverdance, Lochlann Quinn, the former AIB chairman, and the singer Brian Kennedy".

Given the Irish property boom, a conservative estimate would be that the house would be worth approaching $1 million, and very possibly much more than that.

But that is not the most scandalous aspect of the "cottage." If you click through and read the article at the link, you will learn this:

Dodd became part owner of the 10-acre Galway property in 1994 along with Missouri businessman William Kessinger, whom Dodd knew through investor Edward R. Downe Jnr, who had pleaded guilty the previous year to insider trading charges. The mortgage was listed as "between $100,001 and $250,000". Downe was a witness to Kessinger's purchase.

In 2001, Dodd circumvented the US Justice Department to help get his pal Downe a full pardon on President Bill Clinton's last day in office. The following year, Dodd bought off Kessinger's two-thirds share of the "cottage" for, Dodd said, $127,000.

Ever since then, Dodd has continued to list the value of the property as "between $100,001 and $250,000".

So what we have here is a combination of the Clinton pardons, tax violations, and yet another example of the beyond-cozy relationship between Dodd and the bankers he claims to regulate, and pompously excoriates in public.  And he has his BS "Irish cottage" so he can showily brag about his Irish roots. 

I should also add that this story was researched and "broken" by a Connecticut blogger. The story from which the above is drawn appeared in a British newspaper. But, the big league American press that worked itself into a frenzy over Sarah Palin's wardrobe is MIA on this.  

Dodd is like many leading Dems - like, say, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, Nancy Pelosi, John Edwards, and 1000 others. A lot of Dem politicians have used their connections and accountants to come up with these sorts of cute tax dodges. A lot of Dems have made a lot of $$ over the years working at such quasi-public institutions like FINRA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Sallie Mae, and the like. I'm sure they tell themselves that they are "doing good" unlike those greedy Republicans. In reality, they make an ostentatious show of progressivism and concern for the "workin' man" even as they use their political connections to make a quick buck. 

How long can this charade last?

UPDATE: This is too good to be true. Disgraced banker R. Allen Stanford Had Links to a Fund Run by Bidens:
A fund of hedge funds run by two members of Vice President Joe Biden's family was marketed exclusively by companies controlled by Texas financier R. Allen Stanford, who is facing Securities and Exchange Commission accusations of engaging in an $8 billion fraud.

The specific Bidens - Joe's brother James and Joe's son Hunter - deny even knowing this Standford fellow. "period, full stop" in the drama queen formulation of their spokesman. Uh huh. 

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