What we are seeing here is a reverse California Gold Rush. We have politicians who are from California coming back east to Washington, DC to find gold. These politicians discovered that they didn’t need to find gold, they could create it. They could hide their gold inside of cavernous Appropriations legislation or in Armed Services bills, where nobody would dare look — the site of thousand page bills can turn-off the most daring spelunker. And thus we have come to the point where almost an entire party’s delegation from one state, the great state of California, is tied up in scandal. From [sw: John Doolittle] to [sw: Duke Cunningham], from [sw: Jerry Lewis] to [sw: Richard Pombo], and now we have [sw: Ken Calvert] and [sw: Duncan Hunter]. CongressDailyAM provides the goodies on Hunter, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee:
Despite strong objections from the Navy, House Armed Services Chairman Hunter added $25.7 million to the FY07 defense authorization bill to upgrade an experimental high-speed vessel based in San Diego and developed by one of his biggest political donors. … From 1998 to 2003, Hunter received $47,200 in campaign donations from Titan Corp., more than any other lawmaker, according to the Center for Public Integrity. Cunningham, whose district adjoined Hunter’s, came in third — just behind another Southern Californian, House Appropriations Chairman Lewis — with $43,050 in Titan donations.
Titan was bought up by L-3 Communications last year. L-3 Communications has contributed a total of $34,350 to Hunter’s campaign committee and his political action committee in this cycle alone.
Calvert turned up in the Roll Call article that contained information on the investigation into [sw: Jerry Lewis]. It turns out that investigators are also looking at Calvert’s earmarking practices:
In Calvert’s case, the search of his financial disclosures came eight days after the Los Angeles Times reported on earmarks that went to redevelopment of land around an airfield near where he had invested in a parcel of land.
The paper reported that in one instance, after a $1.5 million earmark for fixing up the closed air base, Calvert and a partner sold the land for a nearly 100 percent profit a year after its purchase.
Looks like these reverse gold rushers had their day in the sun, but now the party’s over. I think I found a motto for these California Reps. to live by. From Tupac Shakur and Dr. Dre’s song “California Love”:
It’s all good, from Diego to tha Bay Your city is tha bomb if your city makin pay
I’m sure that Hunter and Calvert could agree. No doubt.