MAY 08, 2007
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi quietly inserted a last-minute provision into a recently approved multi billion-dollar redevelopment bill that will benefit her husband financially.
The veteran Northern California congresswoman sneaked a $25 million project for her San Francisco district into the $15 billion Water Resources Development Act which recently passed the House overwhelmingly.
The legislation will help pay for hundreds of projects around the country and Pelosi’s measure will authorize $25 million to improve San Francisco port areas. Coincidentally, her wealthy investor husband owns several buildings in a nearby commercial district that will benefit from the taxpayer-financed improvements.
Pelosi’s latest earmark helps illustrate the serious problems and ethical issues, across party lines, with the controversial practice that has for years been abused by lawmakers to secretly obtain millions of federal taxpayer dollars for special interests in their district.
In fact, when she became House Speaker last year Pelosi joined her Senate counterpart, Nevada’s Harry Reid, in vowing to reform earmarks even though both lawmakers had admitted using them to obtain millions of public dollars for their hometown businesses and institutions.
Legislators do it by anonymously inserting last-minute language in a bill to allocate funds for their special interests and avoid public scrutiny. Pelosi is a pro at earmarking, having secured hundreds of millions of dollars over the years.
Just last year she boasted about securing $115 million for various local projects, including the conversion of a hotel into efficiency units, equipment for a local university and to improve a recreation area.
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