SEPTEMBER 16, 2009
A deadbeat California congresswoman who funded her political campaigns with money from foreclosed homes is behind the admonishment of a fellow lawmaker who interrupted a presidential speech.
Democrat Laura Richardson insisted South Carolina Republican Joe Wilson be disciplined after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi directed members to move on to more important issues. Wilson made worldwide headlines for shouting “You lie!” during Barack Obama’s health care address to a joint session of Congress and promptly apologized to the president for the outburst.
Obama accepted the apology, virtually all lawmakers from both parties—including Pelosi—were satisfied and everyone agreed to move on to more pressing issues. Not Richardson, however. She pushed Democrat leaders to take strong action, calling Wilson’s outburst “the elephant in the room that we had not dealt with” and implying that it was racially motivated because “this country has taken on a display of hate….”
The House subsequently passed a resolution of disapproval over Wilson’s conduct, making him the first member of Congress to ever be rebuked for such an outburst during a presidential speech. The two-page resolution says Wilson’s conduct was a breech of decorum that degraded the proceedings of a joint session. The resolution passed 240-179, mostly along party lines though 12 Democrats opposed it and seven Republicans supported it.
Ironically, the troubled and ethically challenged lawmaker behind the action has gone virtually unscathed by the House even though her wrongdoing has been well documented in news reports nationwide. Richardson borrowed $200,000 from three properties before defaulting on the loans and she owes the state she represents in the U.S. House thousands in property taxes. Richardson used the cash to finance her political career and claims she can’t repay the money even though her legislative annual salary is $169,300.
When Richardson, who represents parts of Los Angeles County’s poorest black neighborhoods, decided she wanted to get one of the foreclosed homes back, she abused her political power after a man had purchased it from the bank and begun renovating it. Richardson has been repeatedly fined by Sacramento’s code enforcement because the house, located in an upper middle class neighborhood, is an abandoned and rat-infested public nuisance.
A few months ago the laughable Office of Congressional Ethics supposedly launched an investigation into the rundown Sacramento house and the various shady deals that Richardson made to get it back. So far the panel has made a few calls to neighbors and the man who bought the house but was forced to return it by Richardson’s buddies at the bank.
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