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Corruption Chronicles

New U.S. Ambassador Helped Pelosi Make Millions

In a flagrant example of pay-to-play politics, the president of a company that helped House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her banker husband make millions of dollars has been awarded a prestigious foreign ambassadorship.

Foreign ambassadors are appointed by the president and it’s quite common that the coveted positions go to big donors and fundraisers. Barack Obama has stuck to the script of most presidents—both Democrat and Republican—by appointing more than two dozen major fundraisers from his 2008 campaign to ambassadorships.

The new U.S. ambassador to Hungary (Eleni Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis) sticks out because she’s not an Obama fundraiser but rather a renowned Hillary Clinton “bundler” who raised more than $1 million for the former New York senator’s various political campaigns. She was even crowned a “Hillraiser” because she gathered at least $100,000 for Clinton’s failed presidential run.

Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis also has very strong ties to Pelosi and her wealthy banker hubby, a connection that may have bought her the ambassadorship, according to information published in a news report this week. Paul Pelosi and the new ambassador’s father (Angelo Tsakopoulos) have been tight for two decades and their business deals have netted hefty sums for the Pelosis who are worth more than $31 million.

Tsakopoulos founded one of California’s largest land development companies, AKT Development Corp., and Eleni serves as its president. Since 1991 the Pelosi’s investments with AKT Development have netted between $1.4 million and $9 million, according to the veteran congresswoman’s personal financial disclosure statements.

Not surprisingly, Madame Speaker omitted this relevant information when she testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis’s behalf. “I salute her for her patriotism and for all that she will bring to this position,” Pelosi told the panel. The Senate must consent to the president’s foreign ambassador appointees and Pelosi made sure her pal got the nod.

Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis got the ambassadorship on her own merits, says Paul Pelosi who assures that his business dealings have nothing to do with his wife’s political career. Apparently he forgot that his wife steered $25 million in federal funds to benefit him financially a few years ago. She did it by sneaking in a last-minute provision into a freshly approved multi billion-dollar redevelopment bill for her San Francisco district.


 


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