When Barack Obama received a below prime rate home loan from Northern Trust Bank (the kind of loan that isn’t available to the “middle America” Obama supposedly cares so much about), the Obama campaign claimed there was no special treatment. That claim is patently false. As we continue to travel the incestuous money trail, we find that Northern Trust Bank serves as a central hub for Obama, his friend and devoted communist Bill Ayers, and a host of Obama supporters, bundlers and advisers.
Let us first examine the Obamas’ Northern Trust loan. The going rate in Chicago on the day the Obamas locked-in on their home loan was 5.93 percent. Yet they were given a rate of 5.625 percent on their “super, super jumbo” loan of $1.32 million. When Joe Stephens from the Washington Post first reported on this back in July, he wrote that “the Obamas had no prior relationship with Northern Trust when they applied for the loan.” The facts suggest otherwise.
The campaign’s effort to make this a “straight up” transaction is disingenuous at best. A cursory glance at campaign contribution records demonstrates that Northern Trust officials were clearly in Sen. Obama’s hip pocket. Since 1990, employees of Northern Trust have contributed more than $71,000 to Obama, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Five of 13 board members of Northern Trust had given previously to Obama’s Senate campaign before the Obamas received their home loan, including Northern Trust Chairman William Osborn, who contributed $1,000 on Sept. 30, 2003. Further, the bank’s political action committee, the Northern Trust Employees Good Government Fund, contributed $1,250 to Obama in 2004.
Even the Northern Trust management has personal connections to Obama, including current Exelon (Commonwealth Edison) Chairman and CEO John Rowe – a later successor of Bill Ayers’ father, Tom Ayers, who has been a member of the bank’s board of directors since 2004. Another board member is Susan Crown, whose family has been one of Obama’s proven fundraisers. Crown’s brother and sister-in-law, Jim and Paula Crown, are bundlers for Obama, and the Crown family has given at least $56,000 to Obama campaigns. Northern Trust general counsel Kelly R. Walsh, who contributed $1,500 to Obama a little more than one month before the Obamas were given their home loan, is married to current Joyce Foundation President Ellen Alberding. Alberding coincidentally served on the board of the Joyce Foundation with Obama in 2001.
While Northern Trust campaign contributions to Obama have been addressed by bloggers in the past, less was known about the community organization links between Northern Trust and Obama and the Ayers family. Until now.
Northern Trust contributed $100,000 to the Chicago Public Schools Education Fund while Obama and former Commonwealth Edison CEO Tom Ayers and his son John Ayers sat on its leadership council in 2001 and 2002 ($36,000 of that sum was given in 2000).
Tom Ayers, father of Obama friend, communist and unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers, served on the General Dynamics Board. As head of the corporation’s finance committee, Northern Trust was the trustee of the corporation’s Salaried Savings Plan and the Hourly Savings Plan that was overseen by the committee along with fellow members Lester Crown whose son, Jim, and daughter-in-law, Paula, are $200,000 bundlers for Obama’s presidential campaign.
Many of Tom Ayers’ pet projects – charities and organizations with which he spent his time – have a Northern Trust connection and an Obama connection. Tom Ayers served as a trustee of the Erikson Institute. The Institute distributed $46,025 in Northern Trust scholarships. At the time, the Erickson Institute Board of Trustees also included Ayers’ convicted felon daughter-in-law, Bernardine Dohrn Ayers. In addition, the Institute’s co-founder, Barbara Bowman, is the mother of close Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett.
Some of Tom Ayers’ projects appear to have been the beneficiary of coordinated spending between Northern Trust and the Woods Fund, on whose board Bill Ayers and Barack Obama served. For instance, in 2000, Northern Trust contributed $3,000 to the Community Renewal Society. That same year, the Woods Fund contributed $20,000 to the Community Renewal Society. Also in 2000, Northern Trust contributed $2,500 to the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, of which Tom Ayers was an active member. That same year, the Woods Fund, steered by board members Barack Obama and Bill Ayers, gave $16,000 to the Chicago Partnership for Economic Development.
The Chicago Urban League, another Tom Ayers organization, was the recipient of an $18,000 contribution from Northern Trust (doled out in $6,000 increments from 1999 to 2001). As a state senator, Obama secured $37,500 in earmarks for the League for “costs associated with conducting research on technology in the public schools.” The Urban League also pocketed $20,000 from the Woods Fund in 2000, at which time communist Bill Ayers and Obama sat on its board. The Woods Fund also participated in a Northern Trust private equity fund.
While some readers might need a GPS navigation tool to help them make sense of the complicated interpersonal relationships and connections between Obama, Northern Trust and the Ayers family, one thing ought to be abundantly clear: Northern Trust wasn’t just some bank that gave the Obamas a below prime rate home loan any more than Bill Ayers was just a guy who lived in Obama’s neighborhood. Theirs is a very long, circular and mutually beneficial partnership as each sought to wield power and financial clout in Chicagoland.
As we follow the incestuous money trail, we find a growing number of people who were connected to the Ayers family – and we find Bill Ayers constantly in the middle of everything related to Barack Obama. This is no coincidence, but rather a well-orchestrated campaign by Obama’s boss and mentor, Bill Ayers, to open doors and accelerate Obama’s political career.
In Part 3: How the incestuous money trail and the Woods, Joyce and Gamaliel foundations provide even more questionable resources for Obama.
Read Part 1, “The Obama-Ayers incestuous money trail.”
Brad O’Leary is the author of “The Audacity of Deceit: Barack Obama’s War on American Values.” To learn more, go to www.BarackObamaTest.com.