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As a rueful Queen Elizabeth once said of a particularly rough year for the royal family, 2011 is “not a year on which” Queen Nancy Pelosi “shall look back with undiluted pleasure.” The former House Speaker relinquished her crown — er, gavel — in January. It’s been an epic downhill ski crash ever since.
Most recently, Pelosi faced questions from liberal “60 Minutes” and conservative investigative author Peter Schweitzer about a 5,000-share Visa stock purchase she made with her husband as the House was considering credit card regulations. She made a “killing” off the highly sought-after initial public offering. The stock holdings more than doubled in a few weeks; the credit card regulations were put on ice somewhere in the back of Pelosi’s fridge.
While she makes grand gestures toward banning congressional insider trading, San Fran Nan’s financial conflicts of interest are once again on display. This week, Reuters columnist Dan Indiviglio pointed to pending House legislation titled the “New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions Act of 2011,” which is stuffed with natural gas vehicle subsidies: $9 billion worth, to be precise. These very subsidies are championed by Texas billionaire and failed wind farm evangelist T. Boone Pickens. He just happens to be a major stockholder in the company that would benefit from the bill: Clean Energy Fuels.
Question the timing? Indeed. As The Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney observes: “While Pickens, a longtime oil and gas man, has been lobbying for natural gas subsidies for decades, his cause has become particularly urgent this month. Pickens owns options to buy 15 million shares of Clean Energy Fuels at $10 per share, according to SEC filings. Those options expire Dec. 28. If Congress could pass the NATGAS Act this month, shares of Clean Energy would skyrocket.”
Pelosi just happens to be a stockholder in — you guessed it — Clean Energy Fuels.
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