Chris Dodd is a man of contradictions, writes David Whitford for Fortune. The Democratic senator portrays himself as a populist; he’s passed consumer-protection and family-issues laws, and he staunchly opposed the bankruptcy bill. But he’s also received loads of cash from financial companies, including AIG, and played a crucial role in deregulating the industry. Now, as banking committee chair, he’s in on every major economic decision.
Lately he’s been raked over the coals for writing the AIG bonus loophole, which looked even worse with "the latest uncomfortable disclosure": His wife once ran a Bermuda-based AIG subsidiary. What's more, "he's been losing ground lately and may soon face his toughest campaign since he was first elected to Congress in 1974," writes Whitford. Now, Dodd is hoping a populist overhaul of the financial regulatory system—complete with ever-popular bonus crackdowns—can right the ship.