Nov 7, 2011 No Comments ›› Pat Dollard
Hypocrisy: The former speaker of the House, a charter member of the 1% club, is grilled on her investments for a report on congressional conflicts of interest. Can we say “culture of corruption”?
Other than the angel of death, it used to be said, the last thing you wanted on your doorstep or in your office was a reporter from the CBS newsmagazine “60 Minutes.”
So when, in an unusual move, Steve Kroft showed up at the Thursday briefings of House Speaker John Boehner and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, tongues began wagging.
Kroft showed up because neither Boehner nor Pelosi agreed to sit-down interviews for a report on congressional conflicts of interest based on a new book by conservative writer and Hoover Institution fellow Peter Schweizer.
His prior works include “Do as I Say (not as I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy.”
While Boehner was asked generic questions, Kroft’s questioning of Pelosi, a woman with a reported net worth of $40 million, was more specific.
Why, he asked, had she and her husband participated in “a very large” initial public offering “from Visa at a time when there was major legislation affecting credit-card companies making its way through the House?”
The legislation in question, a bill introduced by then-Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers in March 2008, would have let merchants negotiate lower swipe fees with credit card companies.
The bill made it out of committee on Oct. 3, 2008, but never to the floor for a vote. A version of the swipe-fee bill made it into an amendment by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., to the Dodd-Frank bill in 2010.
As the bill was proceeding, Pelosi’s husband, Paul, a wealthy San Francisco investor of the type the Occupy Wall Street mobs have targeted, bought $1 million to $5million of Visa stock in three separate transactions in a part of the IPO that “60 Minutes” said was offered to a select group of investors.
Interestingly, the wealthy Pelosi has voiced support for the OWS mobs, calling them a genuine and spontaneous movement protesting the very financial wheeling and dealing that the great unwashed feel has victimized them. She gained the speaker’s gavel in 2006 while railing against an alleged GOP “culture of corruption.”
Pelosi is also a big fan of green energy. So is her brother-in-law, Ronald Pelosi, a senior executive with a company called Pacific Corporate Group.
Among PCG’s investments is SolarReserve, based in Santa Monica, Calif., which received a $737 million loan guarantee to build a 110-megawatt solar-thermal plant in Tonopah, Nev.