FEC Dismisses Judicial Watch Complaint Against Obama

Posted March 5, 2009 at 2:58pm

The Federal Election Commission on Thursday threw out a complaint brought by a conservative group alleging that President Barack Obama broke campaign finance laws when he got a sweetheart deal on a mortgage written by a Chicago bank. Agency commissioners voted unanimously to dismiss the complaint, which was filed last summer by Judicial Watch. The group accused the then-Senator and his wife, Michelle, of receiving a below-market rate and other perks when they bought a $1.32 million home four years ago in the Windy City South Side neighborhood Hyde Park. The deal, according to a Washington Post article cited by the group, may have saved the Obamas $108,000 or more, or roughly $300 per month over the 30-year mortgage. In its complaint, Judicial Watch argued that the difference in the interest rate that the Obamas paid, when compared with similar mortgages written around the same time, constituted an illegal corporate campaign contribution by the bank. But in their decision, agency commissioners “found no reason to believe— that the bank, Northern Trust, nor Obama’s campaign, broke campaign finance laws. For unspecified reasons, one of the Democratic-nominated commissioners, Ellen Weintraub, recused herself from ruling in the decision.