Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Let's not get too excited

The Washington Post and others are reporting on the good deal Senator Barack Obama got on his mortgage when he purchased his home. What makes this story different from the Dodd and Conrad mortgage deals is that the Washington Post is not reporting that Obama received any special favor, nor was he on any special client list for the bank due to his role in the US Senate. I'm going to agree with Jay Bullock in the center square and say this really isn't that big of a story.

Those hoping for a scandal are just going to have to admit that Senator Obama wasn't important enough of a Senator to have attracted that kind of favoritism. Maybe if had some experience or accomplishments in the US Senate, or even a reputation, he too could have earned the special Senate Democrat mortage loan discount.

So the real scandal of Senator Obama's opulent residence remains the shady circumstances that he was able to enlarge the size of his mansion's property with the help of convicted felon Tony Rezko. As the Washington Post notes at the end of their non-story:

Obama's house purchase has been a source of controversy. In 2006, the Chicago Tribune reported that on the day of the closing, the wife of Obama's longtime friend and fundraiser Antoin "Tony" Rezko closed on an adjoining lot that had been the estate's side yard.

The Obamas bought the house for $300,000 less than the asking price of $1.95 million, while Rezko's wife, Rita, bought the neighboring lot for the full asking price of $625,000. Rita Rezko later sold a portion of the undeveloped lot to the Obamas, enlarging the senator's yard.

Tony Rezko already had been linked to a grand jury investigation involving public corruption. Last month, he was convicted of 16 counts in an influence-peddling scheme that reached the highest levels of Illinois state government.