Were Countrywide's loans to lawmakers simply legal bribes?

It seems like rehashing ancient history to explore the topic of the Friends of Angelo (FOA) loans. You might recall those are the special mortgages that former Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo, the orange-faced Bronx butcher's son, gave to the powerful people who could help delay the day of reckoning for his mountains of sub-prime mortgages and other nefarious business practices.

Now we have a little he said/he said situation in Washington about two of those FOA loan recipients -- Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND). Dodd and Conrad testified that they did not know they were part of Countrywide's "VIP" program. But Robert Feinberg, who worked as a loan officer at the House of Angelo, testified in June to a Congressional committee that Dodd and Conrad knew they were in the program.