Saturday, June 09, 2007

Nancy Pelosi and a Culture of Corruption

Amid promises to clean up the beltway, Democrats swung into power in 2006, albeit by the slimmest of margins. With their commitments to "drain the swamp" and eradicate a "culture of corruption", Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Harry Reid drove a metaphorical stake into the ground. It now appears that the stake is rotten at its core, termite-infested and destined for the woodpile.

While Reid has been linked to lobbyist-slash-convicted felon Jack Abramoff and received a highly irregular $1.1 million "windfall" on a Las Vegas land sale, Pelosi has thus far escaped major scrutiny. That is, until now.

Newsmax reports that Nancy Pelosi's son -- Paul Jr. -- was hired by controversial list-broker InfoUSA. His job: a $180,000 "Vice President for Strategic Planning." Interestingly, Paul kept his other full-time job as a mortgage loan officer for Countrywide Loans (California) and does not report to work at InfoUSA's headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska.

Dick Morris notes that Pelosi's son was offered the job only after his mother became Speaker of the House. And that such a payment is highly unorthodox given Pelosi has "no experience at all in the basic business of InfoUSA". Morris goes on to describe a possible rationale for InfoUSA's bizarre hiring practices:

InfoUSA is the same company that has been cited by the New York Times for creating marketing lists that were used by con artists to fleece vulnerable elderly people. The lists had provocative names and offered the names of elderly people with cancer, elderly people with Alzheimer's and gamblers over 55 years of age who think their luck will change. After purchasing the lists, the con artists would call and convince the elderly person that they had actually ordered an expensive item. Once they received the victim's financial information, they often emptied their bank accounts, leaving many people penniless. Some of InfoUSA's internal e-mails suggest that company employees were aware that several of the companies they sold the lists to were under investigation. is likely that Congress will eventually address privacy issues involved with the selling of data that InfoUSA sells. Pelosi would be directly involved in that legislation, and her son should not be involved with the company in any way... [InfoUSA's payments] to Pelosi's son can only be viewed as an investment and should be stopped.

The Pelosi family's conflicts of interest smell like Fisherman's Wharf on a hot day.

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