A Senate ethics committee couldn't find anything improper about Chris Dodd and Kent Conrad participating in Countrywide Financial's "Friends of Angelo" VIP program that supposedly provided special breaks on mortgages (that's Angelo Mozilo, former CEO of Countrywide, now owned by Bank of America). The committee chose only to wrist-slap the two senators, concluding that they should have been more careful about the appearance of impropriety. Friends of Angelo was a pretty sexy story at first - and there's no question that lots of important people, many of them wealthy, received some sort of favorable treatment - but none of it ever seemed terribly serious, certainly not illegal. And the ethics committee has been looking at this thing for a year (wonder how Congress spends your money?). From the NYT:
"After examining the extensive record before it, the committee found no credible evidence that you knowingly accepted a gift, including a loan not available to the public," the panel wrote to Mr. Dodd. "First, your mortgages were made in a commercially-reasonable manner, based on terms and conditions available to borrowers with similar loan profiles." The panel also wrote, "The service you received was available to thousands of other non-Senate customers at Countrywide and the loans you received appear to have been available industry-wide to borrowers with comparable loan profiles."