Nancy Pelosi’s conscience problem
WASHINGTON, (LifeSiteNews.com) – When it comes to a reputation for ethical statesmanship, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has set her own bar remarkably high.
As she prepared to take leadership in the House of Representatives in 2006, Nancy Pelosi said. “The Democrats intend to lead the most honest, most open, and most ethical congress in history.” The Democrats kept up that theme in their “New Direction Congress,” with Pelosi In 2008 announcing a new Office of Congressional Ethics to “drain the swamp” in Washington.
The former Speaker has also frequently touted her personal uprightness as a “devout Catholic,” although this has famously not stopped her from advocating for abortion.
Yet the Congresswoman may have a harder time holding that line following a revelation that she failed to disclose a lucrative relationship behind her endorsement of the now-ambassador to Hungary.
When Eleni Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis was considered for the ambassadorship in November 2009 Senate hearings, she was vocally promoted by Ms. Pelosi, alongside California Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, and Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, a fellow member of the Greek Orthodox Church and a recipient of Tsakopoulos’ campaign donations.
At the time, Pelosi did not disclose her family’s lucrative investment relationship with the Tsakopoulos family that later was found to have spanned more than 20 years.
According to the Washington Times, Ms. Pelosi and her husband netted between $1 million and $24 million dollars in an investment partnership the former Speaker of the House partially disclosed for the first time last year.
Pelosi revealed that her husband had entered into a partnership with the ambassador’s father, Angelo Tsakopoulos, 12 years ago, investing between $1-5 million in a real estate project known as Russell Ranch, and would only confirm its worth was within the range of $5-20 million. The Times calls Tsakopoulos one of the largest land developers in Northern California.
It was far from the duo’s first partnership. In addition, records show:
- Mr. Pelosi’s real estate partnership investments with Mr. Tsakopoulos have netted him between $1.4 million and $9 million since 1991, according to Mrs. Pelosi’s personal financial disclosure statements. Mrs. Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis has been president of her father’s real estate business since 1993.
- According to the Speaker’s House financial disclosure statements, Mr. Pelosi made two investments with the Tsakopoulos family in 1991 totaling between $500,000 and $1 million, another in 1995 between $250,001 and $500,000, and a fourth in 1997 between $1 million and $5 million. The investments netted the Pelosis at least several hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to the Speaker’s disclosures.
- In 2009, Mr. Pelosi bought the football team now known as the Sacramento Mountain Lions. Angelo Tsakopoulos was a minority investor in the team.
Meanwhile, Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis has established herself as a prominent source of pro-abortion and Democrat donations, including funds given to EMILY’s List, a group dedicated to electing pro-abortion women to political offices. Pelosi herself received $24,000 from Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis.
Mr. Pelosi has maintained that everything is on the level. “There is no story here. My business dealings have nothing to do with my wife’s political career,” he told the Times.
Although ambassadorships often result from a shady mix of personal and financial ties to any given administration, watchdog groups said that Pelosi’s lack of disclosure before the Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis hearings were at least less than honest.
“This is exactly what it looks like: Pelosi filing false financial disclosure reports to hide her family’s financial ties to a wealthy real estate developer,” said Ken Boehm, Chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), a D.C.-based watchdog group. “The fact that Pelosi then did favors for her family’s wealthy cronies just confirms the corrupt nature of the relationship.”
Public Citizen, a group founded by Ralph Nader, also found the silence questionable. “It would have been better if there was a conflict of interest to clear the air,” said PC legislative representative Craig Holman.
The Times’ Chuck Neubauer concluded, “While ambassadorships often are part of a ‘spoils system’ that rewards big donors and the politically well-connected, the Pelosis’ relationship with Mr. Tsakopoulos goes well beyond the business-as-usual label.”