Lawmakers’ Profits Are Scrutinized: House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) made a $2 million profit last year on the sale of land 5 1/2 miles from a highway project that he helped to finance with targeted federal funds.
A Republican House member from California, meanwhile, received nearly double what he paid for a four-acre parcel near an Air Force base after securing $8 million for a planned freeway interchange 16 miles away. And another California GOP congressman obtained funding in last year’s highway bill for street improvements near a planned residential and commercial development that he co-owns.
In all three cases, Hastert and Reps. Ken Calvert and Gary Miller say that they were securing funds their home districts wanted badly, and that in no way did the earmarks have any impact on the land values of their investments. But for watchdog groups, the cases have opened a fresh avenue for investigation and a new wrinkle in the ongoing controversy over earmarks — home-district projects funded through narrowly written legislative language.
It really makes you wonder where we got off track. Politics has always had the smell of the nefarious, now with campaign funds and earmarks and an attitude that everyone is doing it so it must be ok, but, just in case we wont work the ethics committee too hard in case they do find something. Oh, and while we are at it lets ply with the districts to make sure no one can beat us until we are vested in that retirement fund we set up (you know you can’t count on social security…We’ve been spending the money for years).
What the hell happened to leadership in this country? Since when did vested self interest win out over doing the work of the American People. Come on you guys, you went in to politics to make a difference, where did your ideals go?
I think this is the same mentality in leadership that allows for the minimum wage in this country to be worth 25% less than it was in 1968 and yet bumps their own salary by $30K per year…Almost 3 times the fulltime minimum wage.
America, our leaders suck!
Late addendu…Even Molly Ivins is pissed.