Dodd's Other Campaign: Fixing Dad's Reputation





On June 23, 1967, Senator Thomas J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, was censured by the United States Senate for diverting $116,000 in campaign funds for his personal use. The vote was 92 to 5.

“I think a grave mistake has been made, and I am the one who must bear the scar of that mistake for the rest of my life,” Thomas Dodd told a hushed chamber. His voice broke, and he was led off the floor in tears. Four years later, he died a broken man.

Christopher Dodd, the fifth of Thomas Dodd’s six children, was a 23-year-old Peace Corps volunteer in a rural village in the Dominican Republic at the time of the censure. He first learned of the news two days after the vote, when he read about it in Spanish in a local newspaper. He was devastated, but there was no one to talk to, and although he was aware of the scandal in letters from home, he knew few details.

“I suppose they were trying to insulate me,” Mr. Dodd said.

Forty years later, Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, is running for president. His campaign is about ending the Iraq war, restoring rights to detainees and promising financial security to the nation’s retirees. But on a deeper level, his campaign is the most public chapter in his career-long quest for his father’s redemption.

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