Janet's Conner

This Blog tell the Truth and will never not tell the Truth. Impeach Bush

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

PET PROJECTS---WAS HASTERT'S EARMARK A WISE INVESTMENT?




In the space of three years, House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL), made a $2 million dollar profit on a real estate investment back home in Illinois. During that time, the speaker intervened in negotiations over a mammoth transportation spending bill to get $207M in federal funding earmarked for two nearby highway projects, including an interchange just 5-1/2 miles from the Hastert property. Was the speaker taking care of folks back home---OR WAS HE TAKING CARE OF HIMSELF?

Evidence of the latter is rather thin. Land prices in the area were soaring even before the new highway money came about. A partner in the company that bought the land said the price was set in 2004; the earmark wasn't approved until last year.

BUT IF THE STORY OF MR. HASTERT'S EXCELLENT INVESTMENT IS NOT, AT LEAST AS IT HAS UNFOLDED SO FAR, ONE OF POLITICAL SCANDAL, IT IS A CAUTIONARY TALE ABOUT THE POTENTIAL FOR ABUSE. With the explosion of earmarks in recent years comes the temptation for lawmakers to use them for personal gain.

Mr. Hastert isn't the only politician to be questioned recently about whether earmarks rebounded to his benefit; Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CALIF) doubled his investment on a four-acre plot after snagging $9.5M to build a freeway interchange and spur commercial developement near the Air Force base about 16 miles away. Rep. Gary Miller (R-CALIF), got $1.28M for street improvements near a development he co-owns.

As was reported earlier, Rep. Alan B. Mollohan (D-W. VA), used his seat on the House Appropriations Committee to get earmarks directing $250M in federal funds to five West Virginia nonprofits he helped set up. These groups paid generous salaries to Mollohan associates and former aides, who in turn contributed to Mr. Mollohan's campaign committees and a Mollohan family foundation.

The politicians deny any wrongdoings. "I owned land and I sold it, like millions of people do every day," Mr. Hastert said. BUT MILLIONS OF PEOPLE AREN'T THE SPEAKER; THEY DON'T HELP CONTROL MILLIONS IN FEDERAL FUNDING. Mixing real estate investing and earmark pushing makes for risky political business. A county commissioner who pushes a local project that could help boost an investment is going to face tough questions from voters. When members of Congress act like county commissioners---but with an oversized checkbook---THEY CAN EXPECT THE SAME. This is another argument for cracking down on earmarking gone wild.


***I think that the Hastert family has made enough off of the people. It's time to go Mr. Speaker!!!!! It makes you wonder why Mr. Hastert didn't show up to any of his appearances during the 4th of July break. SCARED OF THE QUESTIONS MR. HASTERT. MR. DEEP POCKETS!!!!!


Source of Information: Washington Post
July 5, 2006

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