Skip to comments.Yes, West Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus
Posted on 04/10/2006 6:56:24 AM PDT by rellimpank
House Democrat Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was aware of the story being developed against one of her members, Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV), and his questionable finances and the ensuing political troubles, yet did nothing to act on that knowledge.
The Wall Street Journal last week reported that Mollohan's income and assets grew from the mundane (no more than $565,000 in 2000) to the magnificent (about $6 million, give or take a couple hundred thou in 2004). As the weekend wore down, while House Speaker Dennis Hastert was calling for Mollohan to step aside as ranking member on the House Ethics Committee, the West Virginia Democrat's leadership was standing by him
(Excerpt) Read more at spectator.org ...
If he was a republican, CNN would be running this story non-stop.
Great headline. LOL!
Congressman's Special Projects Bring Complaints
By JODI RUDOREN, NYTimes, April 8, 2006
(snip)The most ambitious effort by the congressman, Alan B. Mollohan, is a glistening glass-and-steel structure with a swimming pool, sauna and spa rising in a former cow pasture in Fairmont, W.Va., thanks to $103 million of taxpayer money he garnered through special spending allocations known as earmarks.
The headquarters building is likely to sit largely empty upon completion this summer, because the Mollohan-created organization that it was built for, the Institute for Scientific Research, is in disarray, its chief executive having resigned under a cloud of criticism over his $500,000 annual compensation, also paid by earmarked federal money.
The five organizations have diverse missions but form a cozy, cross-pollinated network in the forlorn former coal capitals of north-central West Virginia. Mr. Mollohan has recruited many of their top employees and board members, including longtime friends or former aides, who in turn provide him with steady campaign contributions and positive publicity in their newsletters.
The conservative National Legal and Policy Center in Falls Church, Va., filed a 500-page complaint with the United States attorney for the District of Columbia on Feb. 28 challenging the accuracy of Mr. Mollohan's financial disclosure forms. The forms show a sharp spike in assets and income from rental properties from 2000 to 2004. (excerpt)
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.
More info on (allegedly) ethically challenged West Virginia Congressman Mollohan. This could be a potential upset in the making (President Bush carried the district handily in 2004).
Check this out (plus the story and posts above it): http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1611757/posts?page=10#10
Do we have an even remotely realistic challenger for this seat? Has this guy already won the primary? Can they use the Torecelli option here at the last minute, or do they have to pick someone pretty fast?
The filing deadline for major-party candidates already passed, and the primary is on May 9. http://www.politics1.com/wv.htm
Given that Mollohan is running unopposed in the Democrat primary, I don't know what would happen should the scandal blow wide open prior to May 9. Maybe he can withdraw prior to the primary, but more likely he'd stay in and win the nomination and then withdraw, with the WV Democrat Party (or maybe the county committees within the district) naming the Democrat nominee. Another thing to keep an eye out for is someone jumping into the race as an independent---the deadline for independent candidacies is May 8.
Of course, it is more likely that Mollohan would stay in the race until the end, and it will be up to Republican state Delegate Chris Wakim to exploit Mollohan's corruption and try to capture a district that by all rights should be in the GOP column.
There may be more column inches on this in the single issue of the Spectator or in that of the single issue of the WSJ than in ALL the subsequent daily newspapers of West Virginia.