Judicial Watch files complaint over Obama’s mortgage

A watchdog group filed complaints with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the Senate Ethics Committee Wednesday against Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) over a discounted mortgage he received from Northern Trust.

Judicial Watch, a conservative legal watchdog group, filed the report 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.