Skip to comments.WV’s Mollohan Subject of Federal Investigation; He’s Top Democrat on House Ethics Committee
Posted on 04/09/2006 9:26:43 AM PDT by Ooh-Ah
Fairmont, WV (HNN) The Wall Street Journal broke the story on the front page of the Friday, April 7, 2006 edition. The New York Times followed on Saturday, April 8, 2006. By today, everybody will have a story on the federal probe into the financial affairs of U.S. Rep. Alan Mollohan, D-WV, representing the Mountain States first congressional district.
Caught flat-footed by the Wall Street Journal scoop, The Washington Post on Saturday, April 8, reported with a second-day lede that Republican leaders called on Mollohan, 62, to step down from his ranking position of the House Ethics Committee because of allegations that he provided legislative earmarks benefiting companies and individuals who helped make him a millionaire.
The Post reported that Mollohan called the charges spurious and said both the accusations and the calls for him to step down are politically motivated.
Mollohan, a native of Fairmont, was first elected to the 98th Congress in 1982 and has been re-elected ever since. The current salary for rank-and-file members of the House and Senate is $165,200 per year.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, April 7 that federal prosecutors have opened an investigation of Mollohan's personal financial disclosures. The article also raised questions about earmarks special provisions included in federal spending bills -- that he has steered to nonprofits in West Virginia in the past five years.
According to The Journal, Mollohan, a member of both the ethics and appropriations committees, has not been accused of any wrongdoing. He acknowledged in an interview making real estate investments with the head of a nonprofit company that received federal money from earmarks Mollohan backed. But, he contended, he is fully "at risk" in the investments and received no special favors in either financing or locating the investments. GOP House leaders, stung by the Tom DeLay and Duke Cunningham scandals, affecting a Texas and a California House member, respectively, called for action against the veteran West Virginia congressman.
"I believe it would be prudent at this point for Mr. Mollohan to resign from the ethics committee until this investigation is completed," said Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds (R-N.Y.), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) called on House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to press Mollohan to step down.
Pelosi, born Nancy DAlesandro in Baltimore, the daughter of a mayor of Baltimore who later became a U.S. Congressman (Thomas DAlesandro Jr.), shot back, according to the Post: "Speaker Hastert and his Republican cohorts are responsible for the most corrupt Congress in history, and the American people are paying the price at the gas pump, at the pharmacy and with record-high deficits. The speaker should join me in directing the ethics committee to get to work, and not cast aspersions on the independent and distinguished ranking member."
In addition to the Wall Street Journal article, a commentary in the National Journal and the lengthy New York Times story, the conservative National Legal and Policy Center announced it filed a complaint against Mollohan on Feb. 28, 2006 with the U.S. attorney in Washington, the Washington Post reported.
The National Journal, distinguishing between the Abramoff-DeLay nexus and the Cunningham bribery case, opined that The danger for Dems in the Mollohan case is that they may not be able to make the argument . that this is merely an isolated incident. The actions taken by Mollohan and we must remind that he has not been charged with wrongdoing have nothing to do with a culture of corruption or a K St. Project. Instead, they are representative of how some in Congress do business and how, in particular, those who sit on the Approps committee are, how shall we put it, uniquely situated to do that business. In other words, it says that the whole system is rotten and it ain't just one side of the aisle that milks it.
The New York Times story, by Jodi Rudoren, reported that Mollohan has been accused of exploiting his powerful perch on the House Appropriations Committee to funnel $250 million into five nonprofit organizations that he set up.
The most ambitious effort by Mollohan, The Times reported, is a glistening glass-and-steel structure in Fairmont thanks to $103 million of taxpayer money he garnered through special spending allocations known as earmarks. The building is likely to sit largely empty because the Mollohan-created organization that it was built for, the Institute for Scientific Research, is in disarray, its chief having resigned under criticism about his $500,000 annual compensation, also paid for with earmarked federal money.
Rudoren wrote that Mollohan has recruited many of the nonprofits' top employees and board members, including longtime friends or former aides, who in turn provide him with steady campaign contributions.
In addition to the Institute for Scientific Research in Fairmont, the Wall Street Journal cited:
* $31 million for the West Virginia High Technology Consortium Foundation;
* $28 million for the Vandalia Heritage Foundation;
* $6 million for the MountainMade Foundation. The Thomas, WV (Tucker County) facility is housed in buildings restored with funds from the Vandalia Heritage Foundation, according to the MountainMade web site.
Among the real estate holdings of Mollohan and his wife Barbara are a half interest in a 52-unit condo project in Washington called The Remington. Barbara Mollohan manages rentals in the project and the couple have a half-interest in 27 of the units, The Journal reported. They co-own them with a relative, Joseph L. Jarvis, a retired businessman who received subcontracts from an Energy Department facility in Mollohans district. The Journal also reported that the Mollohans own in partnership with a former staffer, Laura Kuhns, who heads the Vandalia Heritage Foundation, five properties on exclusive Bald Head Island, N.C., valued in local real estate records at $2 million, but undoubtedly worth much more in todays superheated real estate market.
The Journal article, by John R. Wilke, added that the Mollohans recently purchased a $1.45 million oceanfront house on Bald Head Island, next door to a house owned by Laura Kuhns and her husband. The weekly rental on the Mollohan house: $8,555.
It won't go anywhere. Democrats do not step down; they do not resign. The media will report it once and let it go.
Democrats still use the mantra of " culture of corruption " ? LOL
Did you know that Congressmen AND their staffers are legally privvy to insider information (way beyond what Martha was accused of) and allowed to place stock trades after they have that information?
Seems like a double standard that should be fixed.
And to think how far Mollohan has progressed in lining his pockets at taxpayer expense. He learned his "trade" from his father who was once the congressman from the same district in WV. The extent of his talents amounted mostly to requiring a cash kickback for a gov't. contract and a large cash Christmas present every year, but he was just an old time Democrat politician, not the kind we have today.
The House Ethics Committee, on which Mr. Mollohan is the senior Democrat, cautions lawmakers about ties to private entities because of the risk of actions inconsistent with their obligation to the public. The ethics panel has been unable to function -- despite the Abramoff corruption scandal, Washington's biggest in years -- because of a partisan squabble over staffing in which Mr. Mollohan has led his party's forces.
Mr. Mollohan is well-positioned to press for earmarks. He has sat on the Appropriations Committee since 1986 and is the senior Democrat on a subcommittee handling appropriations for science projects and the departments of State, Justice and Commerce.
Government contractors and executives of the nonprofit groups in his network regularly give to his campaign and to an affiliated political-action committee, Summit PAC. A third conduit for funds is the Robert H. Mollohan Family Charitable Foundation, named for the congressman's father. It holds an annual charity golf tournament at the Pete Dye Golf Club in Bridgeport, W.Va., named a top-100 course by Golf Magazine. The tournament has been very successful. It received $455,000 in contributions in 2003 -- the latest available figures -- from government contractors and other firms. The donors included at least two of the federally funded nonprofits, ISR and Vandalia.
Since 2000, she has run Vandalia, which has won $28 million in the past five years in federal funding to rehabilitate historic buildings and invest in depressed real estate in the district, largely through Mollohan-backed earmarks. Besides ISR, she serves on the board of MountainMade Foundation, a small federally funded nonprofit dedicated to promoting West Virginia crafts. She's also on the board of the only out-of-state foundation to get Mr. Mollohan's backing, the National Housing Development Corp. It is a California group that has won $31 million in earmarks over five years.
ISR is the largest nonprofit funded by Mr. Mollohan's efforts, winning at least $76 million of federal spending through his earmarks in the past five years. It paid its top three executives a total of $777,000 in 2004, the latest available figures. The president of ISR, James Estep, said in an interview that it has created hundreds of West Virginia jobs and nurtured dozens of high-tech companies. From his office overlooking the I-79 Technology Park -- on 500 acres largely purchased with federal funds -- Mr. Estep pointed to bulldozers at a building site. "This was cow pasture in 1995. Now there are 1,000 people working here," he said.
The research center will offer laboratory and office space and huge manufacturing bays built into the mountain. Mr. Estep said he won't have trouble drawing tenants. Until then, he said he would fill part of the new building with a small robot-manufacturing firm spun off from the West Virginia High Technology Consortium -- another group funded by Mollohan-backed earmarks. The robot firm, known as Innovative Response Technologies and now a for-profit, recently won a $10 million Navy contract for 3,500 mobile "BomBots" for remotely inspecting possible roadside bombs.
Mr. Mollohan earmarked $3.75 million in the 2004 and 2005 Defense Department spending bills to develop the robots, funneling the money to the nonprofit consortium. The new Navy contract will be shared with another defense firm in Mr. Mollohan's district that has also been a contributor to his campaign, called Azimuth Corp.
For Immediate Release
October 31, 2002
ISR Moving Corporate Offices to Veterans' Square;
Will Begin Doing Business in Downtown Fairmont on Monday
Fairmont, W.Va. --The Institute for Scientific Research, Inc. (ISR), a leading-edge advanced scientific research and development company, will begin operating out of the newly-refurbished Veterans' Square building in downtown Fairmont on Monday, Nov. 4, the company has announced.
ISR has occupied two separate office suites totaling about 5,000 square feet in the Alan B. Mollohan Innovation Center at the I-79 Technology Park. The company will double its corporate office space to about 10,000 square feet when it moves to Veterans' Square.
The relocation will provide much-needed office space for company management and administrative functions. The Veteran' Square space is designed to accommodate up to 38 ISR staff members.
The company also has research facilities and offices at the Marion County Industrial Park, the Middletown Mall, and at an Eldora facility. Those locations are not affected by the move.
All ISR employees are scheduled to consolidate into a new 263,000 square foot facility in late 2005. That facility is currently under construction at the I-79 Technology Park.
Congressman Alan B. Mollohan (D-W.Va.), who has championed the high technology movement in northern West Virginia, said ISR's temporary relocation is a positive sign for area economic development.
"The Veterans' Square renovation, and ISR's move to the site, is an important sign of downtown Fairmont's desirability as a location for business activity," said Congressman Mollohan. "I am confident that ISR's experience as a member of our downtown business community will be a positive one, and will entice others to consider the City of Fairmont for new or expanded operations.
"Meanwhile, we will continue to work on priority projects such as the Gateway Connector and Fairmont Renaissance initiative, both of which will greatly enhance the benefits of being downtown," Mollohan added.
Fairmont city government leaders echoed that sentiment.
"The ISR announcement is further evidence that high technology makes an impact for Fairmont," said Fairmont Mayor Nick L. Fantasia. "ISR has been a wonderful corporate citizen and has always made an effort to hire West Virginians so that they may take advantage of the high tech movement. ISR's movement into downtown Fairmont is a welcome addition and an exciting development that further reinforces the company's investment in our community."
ISR will be the largest occupant of the Veterans' Square building, which has undergone extensive renovation in recent years to provide modern corporate office space in downtown Fairmont. Veterans' Square, the former G.C. Murphy building, is located on Adams Street.
About the Institute for Scientific Research, Inc.
The Institute for Scientific Research, Inc. (ISR) specializes in research and advanced development, providing multidisciplinary solutions to the leading-edge technology challenges of its government, military, and commercial clients. The organization offers an environment for cultivating fresh ideas and scientific discoveries from among a distinguished staff of scientists, engineers, and research personnel. ISR is headquartered in Fairmont, West Virginia. For complete information, visit www.isr.us.
ISR Corporate Communications
Phone: 304.368.9300, ext. 111
Well isn't this special?
Canaan Valley Institute (with 40 employees working on a narrow stream restoration plan) pays $5,100 rent to Vandalia with earmarks from the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.
Canaan Valley Institute is WATCHING YOU!
CVI enhances its airborne remote sensing capabilities with LiDARCanaan Valley Institute obtained a new airborne mapping system in May of 2005 which is composed of a high-resolution digital camera and the Optech ALTM 3100 LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) system. CVI is the first entity in West Virginia to own a LiDAR system.
The new system will allow CVI to obtain the following information: High-resolution true color or color infrared photos orthorectified (geographically registered) to the LiDAR data High-resolution digital elevation models Detailed 3-D visualizations of watershed surface features
These products provide stakeholders and clients with important decision-making tools needed in the assessment, planning, and design phases of environmental restoration and conservation.
LiDAR operates under the same principles as radar, with the exception that it uses a laser instead of radio waves. Narrow pulses of infrared light (100,000 per second) are sent from the sensor to the ground; this light is then reflected back to the sensor, which calculates the distance between the sensor and the ground based on the time it takes the light pulses to return. CVI's ALTM 3100 system will actually record four hits from each of the laser pulses, meaning that elevation information will be gathered not only for the ground but for surface features as well.
LiDAR will give CVI the ability to link up powerful, cutting-edge technology and high-resolution geographic imagery with stakeholders who may not have access to it otherwise, as well as to collect a library of unprecedented data for the Mid-Atlantic Highlands. These data can be used in applications across the region for both stakeholder-driven and fee-for-service projects. The ability to collect airborne LiDAR, digital imagery, and hyperspectral data gives CVI a powerful and fairly unique capability to generate funding to continue the nonprofit work that drives the organization.
In the past, CVI has purchased over $100,000 of LiDAR data from contractors. These data were used to support Natural Stream Channel Design (NSCD) restoration projects on Horseshoe Run, West Virginia and the North Fork of the South Branch of the Potomac in West Virginia.
In Smithfield and Briscoe Run, West Virginia, CVI used LiDAR for flood inundation simulation and channel analysis. In Gilmer County, West Virginia, LiDAR data were used for FEMA floodplain mapping support. On CVI property near Canaan Valley in Tucker County, LiDAR data were used for building and road design and to initiate a remotely sensed data library supporting long-term ecological research. Presently, LiDAR is being utilized in designing NSCD projects on Blacks Run in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
The entire system, including two sensors, acquisition and processing systems, and staff training represents more than a million dollar investment for CVI. CVI utilizes these capabilities in support of a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Environmental Information.
The Democrats wrote the manual on the "culture of corruption". And this jackass is on the "ethics committee". That's rich. BTW, isn't this the ethics committee that refuses to investigate anything remotely to do with ethics?
Too bad Fat Timmy had to concentrate ONLY on JD Hayworth's supposed link to Abramhoff...BUT, neglected to mention that a pretty HIGH up Dem. Congress person is accused of doing MUCH worse, IMHO>
I don't recall any talk shows mentioning this yesterday...
I haven't heard this anywhere but on FR.
Are there ANY congress critters that are NOT corrupt?? I look at the things that have been going on in DC and I see a reflection of Mexico*s corrupt government. No wonder the illegals like it here. It makes them feel right at home.
Not one word.
Has Drudge picked it up yet?
I have seen stories in the WSJ, the NY Times and a brief denial story on AP.
You know....Tom Delay has been out talking about Cynthia McKinney..and how HE would file an ethics complaint re: her using money out of her office supply fund to pay for a plane ticket for Isaac Hayes...
Perhaps Tom should get ahold of THIS news item...this is much more HUGH than any penny ante Cynthia McKinney, $1000 dollar plane trip.
When you're right, you're right
WV is not CA.
Look at how long Byrd has been there.
It does take some old-fashioned precinct walking, which is a dying artform in this country today.
You're absolutely right! Both sides of the aisle are corrupt to the core.
Politician; a four letter word spelled with ten letters.
LOL! ....and when I'm wrong I'm usually very wrong! :o)
Some famous people have agreed with you and could not have said it better: Hitler, Mussolini, Hirohito, Stalin, Mao, Castro, Ortega, Chavez, bin Laden.
The top RAT on the House Ethics Committee has ethics problems? WHAT ARE THE ODDS?
You want the over or under? BWAHAHA!
Cute! But doesn't mean I'm wrong. Nothing like attacking the messenger.
In Fairmont all buildings are named after either Byrd, or this Schmuck... poor folks down there don't have a chance.
I live right here in Fairmont and have been doing much investigative research (although I didn't know these other groups were doing the same). I can answer any questions that may arise.
I can confirm that we do indeed have the $25,000,000 High-Level / Mollohan Bridge (technically named after the Congressman's father who served in Congress in the 1950's), and there is the ($14,000,000+) Alan Mollohan Innovation Center office buildings, and on and on.
Interestingly, the High-Level Bridge was completed during the term of Republican Governor Cecil Underwood, and I don't believe it was his idea to later rename it.
Also of interest is the fact that the building named for former Republican Governor Arch Moore has been renamed to a neutral State Office Building -kind of name.
So namings are reversible and changeable...