The Senate Ethics Committee has dismissed allegations of corruption against retiring Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Ct.).
The committee's chief counsel sent a letter to the conservative government watchdog group Judicial Watch, informing the group that the committee was dropping its complaint that Dodd allegedly engaged in a quid pro quo deal. The bipartisan committee found there was "not sufficient credible evidence of improper conduct or violation" to warrant further action on the matter, according to the letter.
In 2009, the group charged that Dodd helped his friend and associate Edward Downe Jr. obtain a reduced sentence and ultimately a presidential pardon for tax and securities crimes, in exchange for a below-market sales price on a property in Ireland. The group said Dodd failed to properly disclose the deal on Senate Financial Disclosure forms.
In a statement released late Wednesday, Dodd called the Judicial Watch's complaint a "baseless, politically-motivated accusation," the Hartford Courant reports.
"Even during a Congress when Republicans and Democrats did not agree on much, the Senate Ethics Committee - made up of an equal number of Republicans and Democrats - dismissed this complaint after a careful 20-month review of the facts," he said. " After this lengthy review, we appreciate the Ethics Committee's conclusion that this attack was wholly without merit."
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton, meanwhile, called the ethics committee's handling of the complaint "shameful."
"Even in corrupt Washington, the Ethics Committee's despicable handling of the Dodd matter is about as bad it gets," he said in a statement. "No wonder Congress's approval rating is just 13 percent, an all-time low."
Stephanie Condon is a political reporter for CBSNews.com. You can read more of her posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.