SPECIAL TREATMENT

Did Senators Enjoy VIP Mortgages?

Not too long ago, being in the "friends of Angelo" club was quite a privilege. Nowadays, being known as someone who was cozy with Angelo Mozilo, the former chief executive of Countrywide Financial, couldn't be more embarrassing. A Countrywide official testified Monday that Senators Chris Dodd and Kent Conrad, both Democrats, were well aware of the VIP treatment they received on their mortgages with Countrywide, though the senators have consistently denied it. Countrywide, which was at the forefront of the housing crisis, literally had a VIP section in its offices that handled special clients. One of the people who worked in the section said in secret testimony to congressional investigators that both senators understood that "who you know is basically how you're coming in here." It appears likely that an investigation is under way into the two influential senators' mortgage dealings, the Associated Press reports.