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Ethics Committee Examining Countrywide Loans to Senators

There are a couple of noteworthy updates to our post yesterday on the Countrywide V.I.P. or "Friends of Angelo" mortgage loans to Sens. Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Kent Conrad (D-ND).

Sens. Kent Conrad and Chris Dodd (wdcpix.com)First, Conrad says that he's begun "talking to the Ethics Committee" after a D.C. watchdog filed a complaint Friday. The panel does not comment on investigations, but it's a sign that at least a preliminary inquiry is under way.

Second, Dodd spoke to reporters for the first time since the story broke last Friday. Up until today, he'd only responded with a brief statement. Dodd again denied that he'd sought or knew he was receiving any special treatment. At the same time, he said today ($) that he'd been told in 2003 he'd been designated a V.I.P. account. He never asked what that meant, he said, but assumed it was a normal status bestowed on Countrywide customers who had an additional mortgage with the company.

Conrad has said that he'd personally called Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo to inquire about obtaining a mortgage, but did not expect or notice any special treatment.

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