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Wednesday, March 30, 2011 

Darrell Issa bribes himself with personal earmarks

 

As the richest person in the House of Representatives, Darrell Issa has a vast personal empire that includes a wide range of real estate holdings. His dealings around those real estate investments have raised legal and ethical questions in the past, and more recently Roll Call has questioned the line that divides his personal and political interests. This morning, ThinkProgress reports on a far more troubling conflict:
 
ThinkProgress has discovered more troubling evidence that Issa may have blended his work as a lawmaker with his own business empire. After founding a successful car alarm company, Issa invested his fortune in a sprawling network of real estate companies with holdings throughout his district. One of Issa’s most valuable properties, a medical office building at 2067 West Vista Way in Vista, California, is called the Vista Medical Center, and was purchased in 2008 for $16.6 million. Described as “a long-term investment,” the property was bought by a company called Viper LLC, a business entity operated by Issa’s family that Issa has up to a $25 million dollar stake in.
 
Around the same time, Issa made the Vista Medical Center purchase, the congressman began requesting millions of dollars worth of earmarks to widen and improve the highway adjacent to the building. In 2008, he requested $2 million to expand West Vista Way, the road in front of his “long-term investment,” but only received $245,000 from the government. The next year, Issa made another earmark request for improving the West Vista Way highway next to his building. He earmarked another$570,000, bringing his total to $815,000, to add parking lots, widen the road, add bus stops, improve the sewer system, and other utility work.
 
Issa has said that an “earmark is tantamount to a bribe.” While Issa has handed out earmarks to his campaign donors in the past, in this case, he appears to be helping himself.
 
Issa has spent months indignantly insisting that he needn't answer for any of his own transparency or ethical shortcomings, even after more than 18,000 signatures were delivered to his office demanding that he disclose his meetings with lobbyists. We made that demand so the public would know who Darrell Issa is really working for in Congress. Today we have at least part of the answer -- himself.

4 comments

Reader Discussion

Stomach turning hypocrisy.

at 6:41 pm on Wed, Mar 30, 2011Posted by Ken

Perhaps I’m just naive or dumb but I don’t understand how politicians get away with this stuff!!  It’s so damned FRUSTRATING!!!  Since when did truth and honesty get so totally (and successfully) shoved aside by greed and lies?

at 7:12 am on Sun, Apr 3, 2011Posted by lamiaverita

With the exception of Issa’s gift to his own real-estate investment area, transportation-related earmarks have been relatively paltry in the last year or two for this region (the City of San Diego has an aging list of 20 or more infrastructure projects that it has unsuccessfully submitted for discretionary DOT funding for years, many benefiting extremely under-invested neighborhoods needing large-scale revitalization).  Now all earmarks are prohibited from consideration in the federal budget for the current and pending fiscal years—a Democratic initiative, nothing to do with hypocritical Republican or Tea Party “tax and spend” whining, by the way.

at 11:19 am on Sun, Apr 3, 2011Posted by Sharon H.

The arrogance of this man is breathtaking.  He’d be fun to watch if he wasn’t such a bad joke at the expense of the American people.

at 3:56 pm on Sun, Apr 3, 2011Posted by Pamela C.

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