Chris Dodd, Financial Savior?

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Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd: An affable fellow, great hair, pretty good debator, accomplished legislator, policy wonk, cute kids, cares about his country. But is he one of the heroes of the financial implosion? From Publisher’s Weekly, comes this news:

Crown senior editor Sean Desmond has acquired a history of the congressional bailout of the financial markets by Sen. Christopher J. Dodd with Lary Bloom. Titled Thirteen Days: How the Financial Crisis Changed the Politics of Washington, the book will provide an intimate look at how, over the course of 13 days last September, a financial crisis led to panic and meltdown. Dodd, the chair of the Senate banking committee, will also describe how he and others acted swiftly to try to save the American economy. Crown has world rights via Esther Newberg and  will publish this June.

This is, of course, the same Chris Dodd who was Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee beginning in 2007, when the banks began their meltdown. He was the one who received the most campaign cash of any senator from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two companies that he defended against increased regulation that might have actually tempered some of the disaster that has followed. He was the one who spent a huge chunk of 2007 not in the Senate, but on the campaign trail, carrying out a lackluster presidential effort funded largely by the banking and insurance industries. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Dodd raised $8.3 million for his presidentical campaign; $4.3 million came from the securities and investments industry. His top contributor was Citibank. His fourth largest contributor was the now-collapsed firm, AIG, a major purveyor of the complex derivitives that helped cause the crisis. He was also the one who in 2007 went before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to praise the “history of solid regulation” in the U.S. capital markets. “Win or lose, [people] invest with a high degree of confidence that American balance sheets are accurate, that investment products like securities and derivatives are properly valued, and that the markets are well-policed against those who would commit negligent, deceptive, or fraudulent acts,” he said.

Which is all to say that Dodd’s book might be more informative, and historically valuable, if he does not limit his scope to just 13 days. I also have a call into his office asking whether he plans to donate the money he makes from the book to charity, as is often the practice when senators write books. Will post the answer when I have it.

UPDATE: Dodd’s office just called back. “He does plan to donate some of the proceeds to a charity,” said his spokesman.

FRIDAY UPDATE: Crown Publishing, it seems, has not yet inked the deal. From a press release dated 2/13/09: “Publishers Weekly, through information prematurely sent by the publisher, announced a book deal between Crown Publishers and Senator Christopher Dodd on the Senator’s role during the financial crisis last fall. Crown Publishers would like to clarify that in fact, Senator Dodd and Crown do not yet have a signed agreement, and that the actual content of the proposed book will chronicle how Congress and the Bush Administration responded to the financial meltdown. If Crown and Senator Dodd reach agreement, Senator Dodd plans to donate his proceeds from this forthcoming book to charity.”

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