Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) speaks during a press conference at his home in East Haddam, Conn., where he announced that he would not be seeking reelection.
Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) speaks during a press conference at his home in East Haddam, Conn., where he announced that he would not be seeking reelection. - 
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Kai Ryssdal: Christopher Dodd is close -- some say too close -- to the banking and insurance industries. That, in part, was why his political prospects were so dim that he has decided not to run for re-election. But all of that said, he was leading the Senate's work on Wall Street reform. So we asked our Washington bureau chief John Dimsdale what happens now.

John Dimsdale: Advocates for stronger regulatory oversight of the banking industry hope Dodd can now be a more open ally. They say Dodd no longer has to worry about how his reforms play with voters back home and should be more immune to the lobbying clout of big banks.

His reform proposal would consolidate numerous existing bank regulators into one super cop. And that works for Heather Booth, the director of Americans for Financial Reform.

Heather BOOTH: We appreciate the leadership he's provided and have never thought this was the time for politics. But the time for reining in the greedy and reckless behavior of the big banks and that's what we think Senator Dodd will do at this point.

But as a lame duck, Dodd loses political clout. Washington's attention will now shift to Dodd's successor on the banking committee, Senator Tim Johnson from South Dakota.

Mark Calabria, a former Republican staff member on the committee, says Dodd's announcement could hurt the chances for reform.

Mark CALABRIA: This strengthens the hand of those who would push for delay. Because you know that you're not going to have to deal with him next year. And there's a general sense, certainly among the financial services industry, that Tim Johnson is a little easier to deal with from their perspective.

Bank lobbyists say they expect Dodd to find a bipartisan Senate solution, which must be reconciled with a version already passed by the House. But Calabria says Dodd wants a bold reform bill as a legacy for his three decades in the Senate. And he'll do all he can to shepherd that legislation through before he leaves.

In Washington, I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

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