Yesterday, the House Republican Steering Committee voted to seat Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) on the Appropriations Committee, “filling the vacancy left by embattled Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA),” who is under investigation by the FBI for his longstanding ties to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
According to Roll Call, Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) “has sought to enforce a tougher ethical standard in the 110th Congress,” and thus called on Doolittle to immediately resign his committee seat in the wake of corruption charges.
But Boehner’s rhetoric is merely a PR stunt. Named one of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington’s “20 Most Corrupt Members of Congress,” Calvert has a history of abusing his power just as much as Doolittle:
Made huge personal profits off his own earmark. Calvert pushed through an earmark to secure over $9 miilion for freeway and commercial development near property he owned in California. After the development of the area, Calvert sold his property for a 79 percent profit.
Personal firm received commission from earmark. “In another deal, a group of investors bought property a few blocks from the site of a proposed interchange, for $975,000. Within six months, after the earmark for the interchange was appropriated, the parcel of land sold for $1.45 million. Rep. Calvert’s firm received a commission on the sale.”
Rewarded K Street firm under investigation with pork projects. The Copeland Lowery lobbying firm is currently “enmeshed in a federal investigation of Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA).” “Rep. Calvert has helped pass through at least 13 earmarks sought by Copeland Lowery in 2005, adding up to over $91 million.” The lobbying firm has been Calvert’s largest campaign contributor.
Traveled to Saudi Arabia with convicted Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-CA) in 2004. They were accompanied by Thomas Kontogiannis, an alleged co-conspirator in the Cunningham controversy.
Despite Calvert’s controversial past, Boehner maintained that a simple interview was enough to erase his past in the eyes of House conservatives. “Congressman Calvert answered every question asked of him by the Steering Committee,” Boehner said. “It was a candid and frank conversation, and the members of the committee were satisfied with his answers.”
UPDATE: CREW’s blog has more.