Dirtier and dirtier

Orange midget gave special deals on mortgages to Senators.
Sen. Kent Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat, said in an interview Friday that he became a customer of Countrywide in 2002 after telling Mr. Johnson, a longstanding friend, that he was in the market for a loan for a vacation home in Bethany Beach, Del. Mr. Johnson recommended calling directly to Angelo Mozilo, Countrywide's chairman and chief executive officer.

Sen. Conrad, along with fellow Democrat Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, whose name has also surfaced as possibly receiving special treatment on a home loan with Countrywide, denies that he sought special rates on loans. Still, the revelations began to trigger political fallout Friday. "It would be outrageous if we don't [hold] hearings with an allegation like this," Rep. Mark Souder (R., Ind.) said on the Fox Business Network.

The "Friends of Angelo" loans to prominent people have become a growing embarrassment both to the borrowers and Bank of America Corp., which plans to acquire Countrywide. Wednesday, Mr. Johnson resigned as an adviser to Democratic presidential contender Sen. Barack Obama in the wake of Wall Street Journal reports about more than $7 million of loans he received from Countrywide.

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