As a Senatorial bachelor during the 1980s, Chris Dodd had a reputation as being Teddy Kennedy's wingman in drunken Washington escapades. A brutally vivid profile of Kennedy in GQ contains some jaw-dropping anecdotes about the two men's misadventures. A taste:
It is after midnight and Kennedy and Dodd are just finishing up a long dinner in a private room on the first floor of the restaurant’s annex. They are drunk. Their dates, two very young blondes, leave the table to go to the bathroom. (The dates are drunk too. “They’d always get their girls very, very drunk,” says a former Brasserie waitress.) Betty Loh, who served the foursome, also leaves the room. Raymond Campet, the co-owner of La Brasserie, tells Gaviglio [another waitress] the senators want to see her.
As Gaviglio enters the room, the six-foot-two, 225-plus-pound Kennedy grabs the five-foot-three, 103-pound waitress and throws her on the table. She lands on her back, scattering crystal, plates and cutlery and the lit candles. Several glasses and a crystal candlestick are broken. Kennedy then picks her up from the table and throws her on Dodd, who is sprawled in a chair. With Gaviglio on Dodd’s lap, Kennedy jumps on top and begins rubbing his genital area against hers, supporting his weight on the arms of the chair. As he is doing this, Loh enters the room. She and Gaviglio both scream, drawing one or two dishwashers. Startled, Kennedy leaps up. He laughs. Bruised, shaken and angry over what she considered a sexual assault, Gaviglio runs from the room. Kennedy, Dodd and their dates leave shortly thereafter, following a friendly argument between the senators over the check.
Belittled Stay-at-Home Moms
In a floor speech debating daycare legislation, Dodd argued against giving tax breaks to stay-at-home moms and portrayed the life of stay-at-home moms as "a wonderful luxury." The National Review picked up on the remarks in March of 1998:
First, Sen. Dodd tells us, "It is one thing to have the choice [to stay at home with your kids], that is a wonderful luxury, but for the overwhelming majority of the 13 million children who are in child-care centers, their parents don't have the choice, they have to be there."
This comment plainly suggests that stay-at-home moms are exercising a luxurious choice rather than acting on a sense of duty toward their kids.
Then: "It is not a question of 'I would like to stay at home, I have another spouse that is earning enough.' It is not a question of 'I want to go play golf or go to the club and play cards.' These are people trying very hard on their own or with their spouse to hold their families together. So the choice doesn't exist for them."
In the Pocket of Big Accounting
Dodd received campaign contributions from Enron and Arthur Anderson totaling $54,843 as of January 2002 and has received $505,453 from accounting firms and their employees since 1989. In 1995, Dodd cosponsored legislation that would limit the liability of auditors to defrauded investors in cases such as Enron. When Clinton vetoed the legislation, Dodd organized to override the veto. When SEC attempted to set new regulations to keep accounting firms from offering consulting services to clients, Dodd helped broker a compromise that killed the SEC proposal. As Charles Lewis of the Center for Public Integrity told Frontline, "Chris Dodd might as well have been on the accounting industry's payroll. He couldn't have helped them any more than he did as a U.S. senator." After Dodd's 1995 bill passed, the accounting industry gave Dodd nearly a quarter of a million dollars in political donations, despite the fact that Dodd was not up for reelection. (Frontline: Bigger than Enron, 2002)
Said Sen. Byrd Would Have Been 'Right' During the Civil War
In praising former KKK-member Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) for casting his 17,000th vote, Dodd claimed that "I do not think it is an exaggeration at all to say to my friend from West Virginia that he would have been a great senator at any moment." Dodd went on to say, "He would have been right at the founding of this country. He would have been in the leadership crafting this Constitution. He would have been right during the great conflict of Civil War in this nation." Byrd has admitted to joining the Klu Klux Klan member in the 1940s. During the debate over what became the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Byrd staged a 14-hour filibuster in an unsuccessful effort to block the bill. (Washington Times, 4/8/2004)
Chaired DNC During Illegal Fundraising Scandal
Dodd's chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee in 1996-7 was marred by accusations of financial impropriety. Dodd co-chaired the DNC during a fundraising scandal involving illegal overseas donations. John Huang, a top DNC fund-raising official, raised $4-5 million for the party, but the DNC was forced to return some of the contributions have reports revealed some were obtained through foreign sources, which is illegal. Dodd suspended Huang and called for an FEC investigation. In 2001, the investigation resulted in 17 convictions, including Huang. Dodd denied knowing anything about the fund-raising improprieties. He tried to deny even knowing Huang, but was forced to flip-flop by the facts, as USA Today reported on 7/19/1997:
When the scandal began to unfold, Dodd categorically denied knowing Huang. But as evidence surfaced that they attended fund-raisers together, he has softened those denials.
"I'm not sure I ever met him," Dodd said. "I presume I did. I presume I did, but there has been so much in the press since last November ... that it is difficult to differentiate, frankly, what I knew and what I have learned from the press discussion about" fund-raising parties.
Close ties to Hugo Chavez and Latin American radicals
Dodd came to the defense of Hugo Chavez after the attempted coup in 2002. Since that time, Dodd has been a proponent of mending ties with the anti-American leftist leader of Venezuela. In January of 2005, Dodd met with Chavez to discuss repairing relations between the two countries. In a letter to the Washington Post, Dodd urged the White House to mend relations with Venezuela saying, "The reality is that [Chavez] was democratically elected -- a fact The Post seems to ignore." Dodd went on to say, "Mr. Chavez's rule highlights a broader U.S. foreign policy challenge: how to respond to democratically elected leaders whose actions challenge established democratic institutions." Dodd has a long history of engaging with Latin American radical leaders, including working with the Nicaraguan Sandinistas in the 1980s and calling for reduced sanctions against Cuba. (Washington Post, 1/29/2005)