The implications in the New York Times’ article about Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif., pictured) were clear even in the title: “A Businessman in Congress Helps His District and Himself” — Issa was using his position as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee to enrich himself.
In the article, Eric Lichtblau implied that even the close proximity of his congressional office and his business office “on the third floor of a gleaming office building overlooking a golf course” in San Diego, signaled a highly suspect intermeshing of corporate and political interests. Lichtblau said that as Issa’s personal fortune has grown during his years in Congress (he was first elected in 2001), “so too has the overlap between his private and business lives, with at least some of the congressman’s government actions helping to make a rich man even richer and raising the potential for conflicts.”
Lichtblau reported that Issa purchased a medical plaza for $10 million a few years ago, arranged for earmarks to improve the road in front of it, making it now worth $16 million. The writer noted that Issa purchased a mutual fund for $19,000 and sold it later for $357,000, “a return of nearly 1,900 percent in just seven months.”
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