This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," March 30, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Senator Christopher Dodd found himself as the source of the AIG bonus scandal earlier this month, but today a new report from The Washington Times implicated him in a shake-down for campaign contributions from top AIG employees in 2006.
And here to explain more about the senator's many, many scandals is our very own, Ainsley Earhardt. Ainsley.
AINSLEY EARHARDT, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, Sean.
Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut had a very busy year. After he dropped out of the Democratic prima;ry for president, Dodd is still finding his name in the headlines. He is the senior senator who serves as chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, but he has found himself in the middle of some scandals, which had many people asking if he's even fit to serving government.
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In early September when Treasury Secretary Paulson announced a federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Dodd was critical, remember? He said Fannie and Freddie were fundamentally strong and in, quote, "good shape,' but it was quickly discovered Fannie and Freddie were heavily investing in the Democratic Party.
Some speculate Dodd's responses were bought, especially when information surfaced that the Connecticut senator received $133,000 in campaign contributions from 1989 to 2008 making him Fannie and Freddie's number one recipient.
This past summer, amidst the housing meltdown, Chris Dodd received a VIP sweetheart loan from Countrywide CEO, Angelo Mazillo, an odd development considering earlier that year he publicly called Countrywide's lending practices, quote, "abusive."
And just last week on "Hannity" we brought you the story from the Hartford Current about Chris Dodd's, quote, "Irish cottage." Apparently he bought that vacation home in Ireland in 1994 with a friend who had ties to a Bear Stearns executive, Edward Downe.
He's a man who was convicted for insider trading and later pardoned by the Clinton administration, thanks in small part by a letter written by a senator, Chris Dodd.
And for the latest chapter in Dodd's dealings, his involvement in writing the language for the AIG bonuses. The Dodd Amendment included a clause preventing limits on bonuses previously negotiated or under contract. Basically ensuring those bonuses would be paid out and kept by all of those executives.
And it's a coincidence, or is it, that AIG donated more than $100,000 to Dodd's campaign in 2008? Plus just breaking today as Sean was saying, The Washington Times uncovered documents from former AIG financial products CEO Joseph Cassano urging his top executives to donate to Dodd in 2006 because he was set to take over the Senate Banking Committee.
And last but not least we recently found out that his wife, Jackie Clegg-Dodd, was a director for three years of a company controlled by AIG.
The evidence is all there, guys. These are just fact I'm reporting, including Chris Dodd's approval rating which is taking a hit in Connecticut. He's up for reelection in 2010, so, Sean, we'll see what happens.
HANNITY: All right. Thanks, Ainsley.
And joining me now with reaction to all of this is Connecticut state senator, Sam Caligiuri, who has been leaning strongly to run against Senator Chris Dodd.
Welcome aboard, Senator. Thanks for being with us.
SAM CALIGIURI (R), CONNECTICUT STATE SENATOR: It's my pleasure. Thanks for having me, Sean.
HANNITY: All right. Now the people of Connecticut have shown themselves to be independent at times. Joe Lieberman, the latest case in point. Latest polls show that he is a vulnerable Democrat that nobody expected. Are you going to run against him?
CALIGIURI: I'm going to be making a formal announcement tomorrow, but as I've been saying all along, I'm leaning strongly in that direction, Sean.
HANNITY: I'll take that as a yes. All right, so you're going to announce tomorrow that you're going to run against him. Now what do you make of these latest poll numbers that showed that he's vulnerable? How vulnerable is he as you travel your state?
CALIGIURI: He's extremely vulnerable and he's extremely vulnerable because the people of Connecticut understand that Chris Dodd has fundamentally let them down, and they are suffering tremendous pain because of his failed leadership as the chairman of the Senate Banks Committee and frankly because he's come to become a metaphor for everything that's wrong with career politicians in Washington.
And it's one thing after another which shows that Chris Dodd over the last 35 years that he's been in the Senate — he's been in the Senate since I was 7 years old, Sean. Over that time, he has lost touch with the people of Connecticut, and he's become more interested in pleasing political insiders than he has been in doing what's right for the people of Connecticut.
HANNITY: Well, look, but the New Haven Register — I believe that was the paper last week that called him a lying weasel. Now we go back to St. Patrick's Day. On St. Patrick's Day, he was asked point blank as it relates to the Dodd Amendment if they put in the exemption for the AIG bonuses, he outright denied it, and then the next day he had to go out in the public and he had to explain, well, in fact, yes, I did it, but I wanted it to pass, and after all this often happens, and the administration asked me to do it.
So has that been the issue or is it more of a cumulative thing between that, the special mortgage deals, the sweetheart deals he's gotten? What is it?
CALIGIURI: I think it's the accumulation. The AIG bonuses really was the icing on the cake. It showed the people of Connecticut what they have been sensing over the last several years which is that Senator Chris Dodd isn't really interested in being the senator from Connecticut anymore.
He's interested in running for president and moving to Iowa. He's interested in pleasing his friends in the financial services industry, and he's really not all that interested in serving the people of Connecticut, and frankly, people in Connecticut and throughout the nation are hurting as a result of that.
HANNITY: Do you agree with the New Haven Register? Is he a lying weasel? Did he lie to the people of Connecticut?
CALIGIURI: I think that he has lost touch with the people of Connecticut and in the process.
HANNITY: I didn't ask you if he lost touch — did he lie to the people of Connecticut? Now this is going to be an important question.
CALIGIURI: Yes, no, look.
HANNITY: Did he tell the truth or consciously lie?
CALIGIURI: I'm not going to step in his shoes and tell you one way or another what he did. All I know is that what everybody else knows, which is that his story changed and did a complete 180 in 24 hours.
HANNITY: Well, you're joining the political world, Senator. And you've been — you're a state senator. He told one story on the 17th of March, he told another story on the 18th of March. You know? Do you give him the benefit of the doubt then?
CALIGIURI: Look, I'm not going to step into the guy's shoes and tell you that he was lying, but it's very obvious that either he was or that he didn't know what his staff was doing and what he was doing, and either way that puts him in a very bad light for the people of Connecticut.
HANNITY: What do you make of as the head of the banking committee, the contributions that he got from AIG? What do you make as the head of the banking committee, he gets these sweetheart deals from the head of Countrywide? He's a friend of Angelo. What do you make of the deal in Ireland where the property value had gone up significantly over a period of time?
When you look at all of these issues, do you think he is a corrupt politician?
CALIGIURI: I think he's a politician who has completely lost touch with why he was supposed to be in Washington in the first place which is to serve the people, not special interests, not his insider political friends. That's what this says about Chris Dodd.
HANNITY: All right. Well, you almost sound political. Give me an answer. Shoot straight with me. I mean you're going to announce tomorrow you're running, and you know what? I think he's corrupt. I'm going to be honest.
I think he and Barney Frank and Maxine Waters — I think all the people that have benefited, they have caused — if we look at the root cause of the financial crisis, it's Freddie and it's Fannie and it's this unholy relationship between Washington politicians and all their friends, and they allowed this to happen, and the American people are footing the bill for the financial institutions, the banks, and the economy as a whole.
I think he's corrupt and should be fired, and I don't think you're being strong enough out of the box, Senator. I think you need to say what you're thinking.
CALIGIURI: Well, look, I'm telling you what I'm thinking. What I'm thinking is that he has absolutely let the American people down and the people of Connecticut down. I'm not going to get into personal attacks. I'm going to focus on the job he has done and frankly on what he has failed to do.
CALIGIURI: And his failures seem volumes about where he's gone wrong and why we need a new United States senator from Connecticut.
HANNITY: All right, thank you, Senator, best of luck. We'll watch your announcements tomorrow.
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