Presidential nominee Barack Obama joins the list of several other high-profile Democratic Party members who received highly favorable home loans.
Obama, D-Ill., reportedly purchased a $1.65 million mansion in Chicago through a “super, super jumbo” loan he received from Northern Trust Bank in Illinois, the Washington Post reports.
The portion of the money financed through the lender ($1.32 million) was offered to the Obamas at an unusually low discount interest rate locked in at 5.625 percent over the life of the 30-year fixed-rate loan, which was below the average of what a typical Chicagoan pursuing a similar low loan rate received at the time.
For his part, Obama and his camp are defending the lower rate as lender competition for business. A spokesman for the camp says, “The Obamas have since had as much as $3 million invested through Northern Trust."
Obama joins Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., and Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., on the list of high-profile public figures who received “VIP” loans that some now are scrutinizing as alleged trade-offs for political favors.
According to a report released last month by Condé Nast, Dodd received highly favorable loans under the designation, "Friend of Angelo," a reference to embattled Countrywide Financial Corp. head Angelo Mozilo.
Dodd, who chairs the Senate Banking Committee, received loans from Countrywide that reportedly saved him tens of thousands of dollars.
Conrad also has been named as a recipient of special-consideration loans from the beleaguered lender.
Countrywide is the same bank involved in the loan scandal that caused Obama's vice presidential Vetting Team Chief James Johnson to resign amid criticism over his personal loan deals with the lender.
Other high-ranking political officials involved in questionable "VIP” home loans include former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Alphonso Jackson, former Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, and former U.N. ambassador and assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke, Condé Nast reports.
Obama's rival for the White House, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has also fallen under home loan scrutiny for an embarrassing report Newsweek recently published revealing that the McCains failed to pay taxes on their beach-front condo in La Jolla, Calif., the last four years and, for a time, were in default.
The McCains, Newsweek reports, paid the last of the taxes owed on the property on June 27, shortly after the story broke.
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