Complaint Filed Over Obama’s Sweetheart Mortgage Deal
Obama's mortgage may have violated the law and Senate ethics rules
By California Yankee Posted in 2008 | Barack Obama | Countrywide | Ethics | mortgage — Comments (21) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
The Hill reports complaints were filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the Senate Ethics Committee against the Democrats' presidential candidate over Obama's Countrywide-like sweetheart mortgage deal he received from Northern Trust:
Judicial Watch, a conservative legal watchdog group, filed the the complaints after The Washington Post reported that Obama received a discount on a mortgage for a Chicago home valued at $1.65 million:
The complaints said the Illinois senator received a loan at the interest rate of 5.625 percent, which Judicial Watch says is lower than the standard rate of between 5.93 and 6 percent indicated by surveys.
The complaint asks the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate whether the favorable rates constitute a prohibited “gift” under Senate rules.
“It appears that due to his position as a U.S. senator, Barack Obama received improper special treatment from Northern Trust resulting in an illicit ‘gift’ which has a value of almost $125,000 in interest savings,” wrote Judicial Watch President Thomas Fitton in a letter to the Ethics Committee.
The complaint also notes that Northern Trust employees have given $71,000 in donations to Obama’s campaigns.
As noted in the complaints, Northern Trust has supported Barack Obama's political campaigns for elected office since 1990. In addition to the $71,000 Northern Trust employees have donated to Obama, the Northern Trust political action committee gave $1,250 to Senator Obama's 2004 campaign for the United States Senate.
According to Judicial Watch, Northern Trust Vice President John O’Connell essentially admitted the company provided Obama preferential loan terms because of his position in the U.S. Senate:
"A person's occupation and salary are two factors; I would expect those are two things we would take into consideration," O'Connell told The Washington Post. "This was a business proposition for us."
"Americans ought to be suspicious when a United States Senator such as Barack Obama, obtains a sweetheart mortgage deal," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "We have serious concerns that Senator Obama's mortgage may have violated the law and Senate ethics rules."
Obama has tried to spin his questionable mortgage deal as nothing more than the lender competing for Obama's business:
Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said the rate was adjusted to account for a competing offer from another lender and other factors.
I'm still worried about those "other factors" and "other opportunities." Those "factors" and "opportunities" could be anything, including special access to a grateful U.S. Senator or a President.