Dodd, Conrad Cleared But Scolded in Mortgage Probe

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 7, 2009 3:45 PM CDT
Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Chris Dodd and Kent Conrad have been cleared of wrongdoing in taking preferred loans from Countrywide Financial, the Hill reports. But the Senate ethics panel gave both Democrats slaps on the wrist. No “credible evidence” of ethics violations emerged, the committee said in a statement, but two “should have exercised more vigilance” to “avoid the appearance you were receiving preferential treatment."

The probe started last year after an accountability group asked the committee to investigate whether mortgages issued to Dodd and Conrad violated Senate gift rules. Both senators borrowed through the Countrywide “VIP program,” known internally as “Friends of Angelo” after former CEO Angelo Mozilo. Both Dodd and Conrad have said they never asked for preferential treatment.