Sen. Kent Conrad’s mea culpa; 2008 Beijing Olympics received a helping hand from the Hammer; and Rep. James Clyburn’s family friendly earmarks.
Kent Conrad sought to assuage critics as more information was revealed about preferential loans he and Sen. Chris Dodd received from Countrywide Financial. The Washington Post reported on Saturday that Conrad, after receiving Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo’s phone number from ex-Veep vetter Jim Johnson, called Mozilo to directly ask for a loan. How could you not expect preferential treatment when your loan officer is the CEO? In response to the continued criticism and coverage, Conrad declared that he would refinance his loan and donate the estimated amount he saved – $10,500 – to Habitat for Humanity. Conrad has also called on the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate both his and Sen. Dodd’s mortgages.
In 2001, Tom DeLay was at the height of power in Republican politics, cutting deals with energy interests, Jack Abramoff, and countless others. DeLay also happened to work with a major Republican contributor in his dealings with the popular conservative bugaboo of 2001: China. During court proceedings into Republican contributor Sheldon Adelson’s bid to build casinos in Macau, the billionaire casino mogul revealed that he personally called up then-Majority Leader Tom DeLay to ask him to kill a House measure opposing the awarding of the 2008 Olympics to Beijing as it would help him secure Chinese support for his business venture. DeLay, a cosponsor of the anti-Beijing resolution, consulted with other Republican leaders before telling Adelson he needn’t worry about the measure. Days before the International Olympic Committee was to vote on the host city for the 2008 Olympics, the measure disappeared from the House agenda. Adelson subsequently won support from the Chinese government, which intervened to help his bid in Macau at least twice, and Beijing won the 2008 Olympics.
Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina is found to be earmarking money to projects that employ at least four of his family members and to other projects run by or employing former staffers.
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