Monday, February 20, 2006

Little Ricky

The American Prospect has some serious allegations regarding Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. Will Bunch takes the often sanctimonious Santorum to tasks for a couple of interesting financial items.
...we found is that Santorum’s exurban lifestyle is financed in ways that aren’t available to the average voter back home in Pennsylvania -- namely a political action committee that lists payments for such unorthodox items as dozens of trips to the Starbucks in Leesburg, a number of stops at fast-food joints, and purchases at Target, Wal-Mart, and a Giant supermarket in northern Virginia.
OK. Santorum is apparently using his leadership PAC as an ATM for groceries, Big Macs and lattes. Maybe that's why only 18% of the money flowing into his PAC, flows out to other Republican candidates - which is the purpose of the PAC.

While using his PAC revenue as tax free spending money is questionable, Bunch found Santorum's home financing to be even more remarkable.
Initially, according to Loudoun County property records, the purchase was financed with a $405,000 mortgage from a conventional lender, Westminster Mortgage Company. But a year later, the couple refinanced for $500,000. That was not unusual in the fall of 2002, when many homeowners were refinancing to take advantage of plunging interest rates, while also cashing in on the rising equity in their homes. What was curious was the source of the increased mortgage. It was a new private bank catering to “affluent investors and institutions” -- whose officers have contributed $24,000 to Santorum’s political action committees and re-election campaign -- called Philadelphia Trust Company.

Rick and Karen Santorum do not appear to fit the profile of customers to whom the financial institution would normally issue a loan of any kind. According to information currently posted on Philadelphia Trust’s Web site, banking services “are offered at no additional charge to our clients” and “are available only to investment advisory clients whose portfolios we manage, oversee or administer. Interest rates on loans and deposits are competitive. Loan payments will be customized to match each client’s specific needs. Approved loans will be collateralized by your investment portfolio.”

The Santorum's didn't have an investment portfolio at the Philadelphia Trust Company. But, they got a "market rate" five year, $500,000 loan anyway. Go figure.

This is just the 40,000 foot view of the article. As you get closer to ground levels many of our old friends seem to pop into view. The Alexander Strategy Group, R.J. Reynolds, Altria, and U.S. Tobacco Corporation just to name a few.

Once again, we see a key Republican leader using lobbyist money to feather his nest and improve his life style. Once again, we see a key Republican leader getting special treatment from the representative of an industry that he is responsible to regulate.

Business as usual for the congress of corruption.