Sen. Chris Dodd has been cleared of breaking Senate gift rules in connection with his VIP mortgages from Countrywide. The senators should, however, have been more careful in their dealings.
The committee that investigated the deals Democratic Sens. Dodd and Kent Conrad cleared both of them.
The Select Committee on Ethics sent separate letters to Dodd and Conrad, of North Dakota, that it has found "no substantial credible evidence" that their Countrywide mortgages broke Senate gift rules.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed the complaint on June 13, 2008, asking an ethics committee to look into whether mortgages he obtained violated the Senate Gifts Rule.
“While the Committee finds no substantial credible evidence as required by Committee rules that your Countrywide mortgages violated Senate ethics rules, the Committee does believe that you should have exercised more vigilance in your dealings with Countrywide in order to avoid the appearance that you were receiving preferential treatment based on your status as a Senator,” according to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Ethics.
The panel says it reached its conclusions after a yearlong investigation.
The letters tell both Dodd and Conrad that even though they didn't break any rules, the committee believes they should have been more careful in their dealings with Countrywide to avoid the appearance they were receiving sweetheart deals because they were senators.