How the former House speaker is still using her position to enrich herself.
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.
The then-Speaker bought between $50,000 and $100,000 of stock in Pickens' CLNE Corp. in May 2007 on the day of the initial public offering. As I reported in a column three years ago, Pelosi's 2007 financial disclosure form listed "assets and 'unearned income' of between $100,001-$250,000 from Clean Energy Fuels Corp. — Public Common Stock." If the natural gas giveaway passes, Pelosi profits.
Of course, an endless parade of dirty Democratic scandals earlier this year had already completely obliterated what was left of Pelosi's Mop-and-Glo reformer image. She and other liberal feminists rallied around disgraced Twitter freak and former N.Y. Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner even as evidence mounted that he lied to them. And used taxpayer resources and government buildings while sexting. And recklessly neglected to ensure that his Internet paramours were of legal age.
Pelosi and fellow femme-a-gogue Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., led from behind, calling for Weiner's resignation only after the public tide had shifted. Pelosi showed similar reticence in dealing with basket-case Oregon Democratic Rep. David Wu — whose sexually aggressive, alcohol-addled erratic outbursts stretched over decades. Despite knowledge of Wu's staff's panic about his infamous 2010 Tigger costume photos and despite months-old pleas for help from an underage victim of Wu's sexual indiscretions, House Democrats sat on their hands. In July, Pelosi finally called for an investigation by the House Ethics Committee.
That's the same panel that slapped Pelosi pal and New York Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel on the wrist for serial tax-cheating and has yet to move forward with California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters' ethics trial after charging her last year with three violations related to her crony TARP bailout intervention on behalf of minority-owned OneUnited Bank in Los Angeles.
What a way to close out her annus horribilis. Nancy Pelosi, the proud feminist who boasted she would clean up Washington, is covering up and cashing in. Just like all the other self-dealing good old boys.
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