A little about the man who told us Freddie & Fannie were doing fine...
From Open Secrets --
Name: Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.)
Position: Although Dodd is chair of one of the more powerful congressional committees, he probably isn't the envy of his peers these days with an economic crisis growing larger by the day. Dodd has put in two years as chair of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs and is now charged with shaping legislation to jump-start the economy and help floundering companies. His committee oversees the nation's financial institutions, housing and mass transit programs. Although he hasn't spent much time as chair, he's been in Congress for more than three decades.
Money Summary: Dodd has raised a total of $43.1 million since 1989 and has spent $43.2 million. His large war chest can be attributed, in part, to his presidential bid in 2008, which he abandoned after receiving less than 1 percent of the vote in the Iowa caucus that kicked off the primary season. He raised $18 million total in his attempt to win the White House. Overall, he's received 62 percent of his contributions from individuals (rather than the political action committees of unions and corporations) and is a popular Wall Street target, collecting $5.2 million from donors in New York, more than any other metro area. He's given other lawmakers and candidates 23 percent of the total $2.3 million that his leadership PAC, Chris PAC, has raised since the 2004 election cycle.
Campaigns Donors: Not surprisingly, Dodd's most generous sector is finance, insurance and real estate, which is filled with companies that are directly affected by legislation that comes out of the Banking Committee. The finance, insurance and real estate sector has given Dodd a total of $13.2 million since 1989, distantly followed by lawyers and law firms, which have given $3.7 million. The securities and investment industry, real estate industry, insurance companies, commercial banks, accountants and finance and credit companies all rank among his top 20 industry donors. In 2008, Dodd was among the top five recipients of money in the Senate from 21 industries, many of which are finance-related. He has received more money from hedge funds over time than all but two other lawmakers ($761,250), and expressed concern over a bill in 2007 that would have increased taxes on private-equity firms and hedge fund managers. Hedge funds are a big industry in Connecticut, his home state.
Dodd's most generous donors include many of the companies that have filed for bankruptcy or sought government help over the last six months: Citigroup $428,300), Morgan Stanley ($211,300), American Insurance Group ($280,250) and Lehman Brothers ($154,300). Despite the companies' support, when the Senate was called on this month to release the second half of the $700 billion bailout money, Dodd called for stronger oversight provisions and limits on executive compensation for the companies receiving a handout.
Not all of Dodd's supporters come from Wall Street, however. Lobbyists, pharmaceutical companies and health professionals also rank among his most generous industries. During the race for the White House, the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) endorsed Dodd and spent $202,300 independently to see him win. Dodd has sponsored bills to provide more funding to fire stations for equipment, training and staff.
Industry Favors: "No lawmaker has done more for firefighters in this nation than Chris Dodd," said Jeff Zack, spokesman for the IAFF. "Every time firefighters in this country say they need something, he's stood up and said 'I'm with you,' and he has not only said 'sign me on,' he's said 'let me write the bill.'"
Invests in: Compared to the rest of the Senate, Dodd is middle class. In 2007 he was worth between $629,019 and $2.1 million, ranking him 56th among all senators. At that time he had at least $100,001 invested in Blockbuster and drug makers Cardiome Pharma Corp. and Javelin Pharmaceuticals.
Other Money Matters: When mortgage buyers Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were in dire financial straits last year and seeking help from the government, Dodd came under some fire for having received more money from the two companies' employees and political action committees than any other lawmaker over time, at $133,900. Dodd helped push through a rescue plan for the two companies last year, including better regulatory oversight in the measure.
In His Own Words: "This is not a time to be panicking about this. These are viable, strong institutions," Dodd said of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac at a press conference in July 2008, when the federal government came to the rescue of the institutions. "These two are fundamentally, fundamentally strong. There's no reason for the kind of reaction we're getting."