Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd's decision not to seek another term in the face of dismal reelection prospects has divided pundits on what it means for Democrats, but many are now asking what it means for financial reform. Given Dodd's leading role in financial legislation, business experts are weighing how his departure will impact reform and, more broadly, the Wall Street-Washington relationship.

  • Dodd Goes All-In for Bankers Politico's Victoria McGrane says some lobbyists think it will allow the senator to push for regulation that's friendlier to the banking industry now that Dodd doesn't have to worry about his image in his blue home state. "This, in particular, could ease the way for the death of a stand-alone Consumer Financial Protection Agency -- the No. 1 cause of consumer groups, labor unions and other activists on the left working the legislation," she writes. On the other hand, "it could also mean that Dodd puts it all on the line to get what he wants, bipartisanship be damned."
  • Clearing the Way for an Anti-Banking Democrat  Whatever Dodd's retirement means for the current reform, there's still the issue of where his Connecticut replacement stands. The one likely Democrat waiting in the wings for the seat -- there are several Republicans -- is the activist Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, Joe Weisenthal at The Business Insider points out. And things don't look good for the banking industry if he takes Dodd's seat: "During his tenure as AG, Blumenthal has followed the Spitzer-Cuomo-Brown activist model, going after large, publicly-hated corporations whenever possible. These days that means finance."
  • Clearing the Way for a Pro-Banking Committee Chairman  What really matters, of course, is who takes Dodd's place at the helm of the banking committee and BNet's Alain Sherter takes a look at what one investment research group has to say about three of Dodd's likely replacements: "Their assessment is discouraging for those of us hoping that Congress shortens the leash on financial firms. 'Beyond 2010, we believe this could be a positive for banks as his likely successors as Senate Banking Chairman may be friendlier to parts of the financial sectors,' they write."