The Rise and Fall of the American Residential Equity Empire

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By ADAM NAGOURNEYPublished: January 6, 2010WASHINGTON — Senator Christopher J. Dodd, the embattled Connecticut Democrat who was facing an increasingly tough bid for a sixth term in the United States Senate, has decided not to seek re-election this year, Democrats familiar with his plans said Wednesday.Skip to next paragraphMultimediaTimeline: Chrisopher J. DoddInteractiveTimeline: Chrisopher J. DoddRelatedSenator Dorgan of North Dakota Will Retire (January 6, 2010)Decision Sets Stage for Pitched Battle (January 6, 2010)Times Topics: Christopher J. DoddBlogThe CaucusThe CaucusThe latest on President Obama, his administration and other news from Washington and around the nation. Join the discussion. * More Politics NewsReaders' Comments Share your thoughts. * Post a Comment » * Read All Comments (114) »Mr. Dodd, 65, a pivotal figure in the major debates now confronting Congress, is to announce his decision at a news conference Wednesday afternoon in Connecticut.The decision came hours after another Democratic senator, Byron L. Dorgan of North Dakota, also announced that he would not seek re-election this November. The developments underscored the fragility of the Democrats’ 60-vote Senate majority, which is just enough to block Republican filibusters. Democratic incumbents also face serious challenges in Arkansas, Colorado, Nevada and Pennsylvania among other states.In this case, Mr. Dodd was already considered one of the most vulnerable Democrats facing re-election this November, and party officials had been privately hoping he would step aside. His move opens the way for the state’s highly popular attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, to run. Democrats and Republicans said he would be a much stronger candidate in what is a Democratic state.Mr. Dodd’s decision was reported by The Washington Post on its Web site late Tuesday night, and later confirmed by his associates. As of early Wednesday morning, Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, had not heard from Mr. Dodd about his decision, according to aides to Mr. Reid.Mr. Dodd has been a fixture in the Senate since his election in 1980 and had been at the center of the contentious recent debates on overhauling the health care system and financial regulation. In November he proposed an overhaul that included consolidating bank regulators, creating a consumer financial protection agency and imposing new restraints on exotic financial instruments and credit rating agencies.But his standing in Connecticut had been on the decline starting when he made an unsuccessful run for the presidency in 2008 — moving his family to Iowa — and when questions arose about a disputed loan he took from Countrywide Financial, the fallen subprime company.On the Republican side, Mr. Dodd faced the prospect of running against Linda McMahon, a political novice who was prepared to use her vast personal fortune to beat the incumbent senator. Also challenging the senator was former Representative Rob Simmons, a Republican.Mr. Dodd’s troubles escalated in 2008 when he was one of two Democratic senators — the other was Kent Conrad of North Dakota — who had been accused of receiving improper discounts from Countrywide Financial. In August, the Senate Select Committee on Ethics ruled that it had found “no credible evidence” that the senators had violated gift rules in accepting the loans.But the committee criticized Mr. Dodd and Mr. Conrad for not avoiding the appearance of impropriety.Both Mr. Dodd and Mr. Conrad had been members of the “Friends of Angelo” V.I.P. program at the bank, named after Angelo R. Mozilo, the chief executive of Countrywide.Polling in Connecticut suggested that Mr. Dodd had been hurt both by his association with Countrywide and by criticism for his role in legislation that appeared to clear the way for bonuses to be paid to executives of American International Group, the insurance firm that received a government bailou

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By ADAM NAGOURNEY
Published: January 6, 2010

WASHINGTON — Senator Christopher J. Dodd, the embattled Connecticut Democrat who was facing an increasingly tough bid for a sixth term in the United States Senate, has decided not to seek re-election this year, Democrats familiar with his plans said Wednesday.
Skip to next paragraph
Multimedia
Timeline: Chrisopher J. DoddInteractive
Timeline: Chrisopher J. Dodd
Related
Senator Dorgan of North Dakota Will Retire (January 6, 2010)
Decision Sets Stage for Pitched Battle (January 6, 2010)
Times Topics: Christopher J. Dodd
Blog
The Caucus
The Caucus

The latest on President Obama, his administration and other news from Washington and around the nation. Join the discussion.

* More Politics News

Readers' Comments

Share your thoughts.

* Post a Comment »
* Read All Comments (114) »

Mr. Dodd, 65, a pivotal figure in the major debates now confronting Congress, is to announce his decision at a news conference Wednesday afternoon in Connecticut.

The decision came hours after another Democratic senator, Byron L. Dorgan of North Dakota, also announced that he would not seek re-election this November. The developments underscored the fragility of the Democrats’ 60-vote Senate majority, which is just enough to block Republican filibusters. Democratic incumbents also face serious challenges in Arkansas, Colorado, Nevada and Pennsylvania among other states.

In this case, Mr. Dodd was already considered one of the most vulnerable Democrats facing re-election this November, and party officials had been privately hoping he would step aside. His move opens the way for the state’s highly popular attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, to run. Democrats and Republicans said he would be a much stronger candidate in what is a Democratic state.

Mr. Dodd’s decision was reported by The Washington Post on its Web site late Tuesday night, and later confirmed by his associates. As of early Wednesday morning, Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, had not heard from Mr. Dodd about his decision, according to aides to Mr. Reid.

Mr. Dodd has been a fixture in the Senate since his election in 1980 and had been at the center of the contentious recent debates on overhauling the health care system and financial regulation. In November he proposed an overhaul that included consolidating bank regulators, creating a consumer financial protection agency and imposing new restraints on exotic financial instruments and credit rating agencies.

But his standing in Connecticut had been on the decline starting when he made an unsuccessful run for the presidency in 2008 — moving his family to Iowa — and when questions arose about a disputed loan he took from Countrywide Financial, the fallen subprime company.

On the Republican side, Mr. Dodd faced the prospect of running against Linda McMahon, a political novice who was prepared to use her vast personal fortune to beat the incumbent senator. Also challenging the senator was former Representative Rob Simmons, a Republican.

Mr. Dodd’s troubles escalated in 2008 when he was one of two Democratic senators — the other was Kent Conrad of North Dakota — who had been accused of receiving improper discounts from Countrywide Financial. In August, the Senate Select Committee on Ethics ruled that it had found “no credible evidence” that the senators had violated gift rules in accepting the loans.

But the committee criticized Mr. Dodd and Mr. Conrad for not avoiding the appearance of impropriety.

Both Mr. Dodd and Mr. Conrad had been members of the “Friends of Angelo” V.I.P. program at the bank, named after Angelo R. Mozilo, the chief executive of Countrywide.

Polling in Connecticut suggested that Mr. Dodd had been hurt both by his association with Countrywide and by criticism for his role in legislation that appeared to clear the way for bonuses to be paid to executives of American International Group, the insurance firm that received a government bailou

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