Imagine if you could buy cheap real estate and then sell it for a large profit without having to fix up the property at all. All you would have to do is pick up a pen and write some earmarks to make your property more desirable. Well, if you need pointers on how to do this you should ask Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA). From the Los Angeles Times:
Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Corona) is an experienced investor in Riverside County’s booming real estate market, so he’s used to seeing prices change quickly. Last year, he and a partner paid $550,000 for a dusty four-acre parcel just south of March Air Reserve Base. Less than a year later, without even cutting the weeds or carting off old septic tank parts that littered the ground, they sold the land for almost $1 million.
Even for a speculator like Calvert, it was an unusually good deal.
During the time he owned the land, Calvert used the legislative process known as earmarking to secure $8 million for a planned freeway interchange 16 miles from the property, and an additional $1.5 million to support commercial development of the area around the airfield.
A map of Calvert’s recent real estate holdings and those of his partner shows many of them near the transportation projects he has supported with federal appropriations. And improvements to the transportation infrastructure have contributed to the area’s explosive growth, according to development experts.
As a kicker the Times story states that Calvert has also secured earmarked projects for campaign contributors, “including employees of the Washington lobbying firm of Copeland Lowery & Jacquez, his top political donor in the last election cycle.” Lowery is the same Bill Lowery who is a part of the federal investigation into Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA).