Chris Dodd’s cottage in Ireland, a joint purchase facilitated by crony contributor and convicted insider trader Edward Downe, is magical.
Watch it magically appreciate:
A new appraisal more than doubles the value of U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd’s Irish cottage, a vacation home that is the subject of an ethics complaint by a conservative group that questions if it was really a gift.
The property is valued at 470,000 euros, or about $660,000, on a financial disclosure report provided to The Associated Press on Friday by Dodd’s office. The previous year’s report valued the seaside home, located in County Galway, at between $100,001 and $250,000.
Dodd spokesman Bryan DeAngelis said the Connecticut senator and his wife decided to have the property appraised because they felt it was time to update the information for Dodd’s financial disclosure report to the Senate.
“The value of the cottage — or of Irish real estate, generally — isn’t something that the Dodds have thought much about,” DeAngelis said in a statement. “However, questions have been raised and they recognize that it’s important to make a good faith effort at valuation for the Senate financial disclosures.”
The questions about the sweetheart deal were raised by conservative watchdog Judicial Watch back in April:
Judicial Watch’s complaint alleges that Senator Dodd appeared at a hearing on behalf of Edward Downe, Jr. in 1993 to help Downe obtain a reduced sentence for violations involving tax and securities laws. In 2001, Dodd ultimately helped Downe secure a full presidential pardon for his crimes on President Clinton’s last day in office bypassing the normal pardon vetting process. In 2002, Dodd allegedly received a significantly reduced, below-market sales price, for a two-thirds interest in a property located in County Galway, Ireland, from Downe’s associate, William Kessinger. (Dodd already owned a one-third interest in the property.) Downe’s signature appears on the property transfer documents. He is listed as a witness.
(Judicial Watch has sought additional documents about this property from government authorities in Ireland.)
According to the complaint, Senator Dodd, Chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, allegedly failed to report the gift in 2002 and may have filed inaccurate Senate Financial Disclosure forms related to the property ever since, in violation of the 1978 Ethics in Government Act. The penalty for filing false financial disclosure forms is $50,000 and up to one year in prison.
“This seems a straight-up quid pro quo. Dodd helped his apparently crooked friend and seems to have received a cut-rate real estate deal on a property in Ireland in exchange. Moreover, it appears Dodd attempted to cover up the gift by failing to disclose it on his financial disclosure forms. To put it mildly, this type of behavior clearly does not reflect well on the United States Senate. We hope the Senate Ethics Committee does a thorough and speedy investigation. Federal prosecutors also need to take a look at this, as knowingly filing false financial forms is a crime,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
In 2008, Senator Dodd came under fire for receiving preferential loan terms from Countrywide Financial as a member of the company’s “VIP Program.”
Tells you all you need to know, doesn’t it?
Glenn Reynolds: “I wish I were a senator, so I could get this kind of housing-market appreciation.”