There’s a post by Jon Fleschman over on Flash Report this morning again referencing what a great guy former Congressman Richard Pombo is, in Jon’s view, of course.Ã‚Â Another, “oh trust me.Ã‚Â I know him.”Ã‚Â I almsot want to add, “he’s a GoodFella.”Ã‚Â Where is Ray Liotta when you need him?
Jon writes: “I’ve known Richard Pombo since before he ever a Congressman.Ã‚Â He’s a great guy, with a lot of integrity, and there isn’t a dishonest bone in his body.Ã‚Â That said, by the time the onslaught against him was over in Congressional District 11 last November, Pombo was out of office because of a lot of accusatory voter communication that made it out like Richard was tainted by a rather iffy connection to the now-imprisoned Jack Abramoff.Ã‚Â Pombo is a great example of how it is perception, not reality that often times matters the most in the arena of politics.”
Here, in the reality-based community, Former Rep.Ã‚Â Pombo’s hands areÃ‚Â not nearly as clean as Jon would like to think.Ã‚Â Below, you’ll find an excellent post from the folks atÃ‚Â Beyond Delay (http://www.beyonddelay.org)
Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA)
Legislative Assistance to Indian Tribes
As chairman of the House Resources Committee, Rep. Pombo is responsible for tribal-related legislation. As a result, Indian tribes have invested increasingly in Rep. PomboÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s political campaigns. In total, Rep. PomboÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s campaign and leadership committees have collected $221,000 from tribes since 1999.
The tribal contributions have often coincided with House Resource Committee hearings on Indian issues. For example, the Osage Tribe of northern Oklahoma gave Rep. PomboÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s political action committee, Rich PAC, $2,500 on March 10, 2004 and another $2,500 on March 18, 2004 while the Resources Committee held a hearing on March 15, 2004 on a bill to free the Osage Tribe from a 1906 treaty that deprived the tribe of certain sovereign rights enjoyed by other tribes. Similarly, just days before the July 14, 2005 hearing that the House Resources Committee was holding on land claims involving the Shinnecock Tribe, Rep. Pombo attended a $5,000 per person fund-raiser for Rich PAC held at a baseball All Star Game, hosted by a group bankrolling the ShinnecocksÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ efforts to build a casino in Southampton, New York.
By accepting numerous and very generous campaign contributions from a number of tribes in apparent exchange for supporting legislation that would favor those tribes, Rep. Pombo appears to have violated federal bribery laws.
Financially Benefitting Family Members
The Pombo family owns more than 1,500 acres near two proposed freeways, the value of which will likely skyrocket thanks to federal funds Rep. Pombo has obtained to study the highway projects. If even one of the proposed freeways is eventually built, the value of 183.6 acres of property owned by the Pombos and located near the proposed freeway will be worth far more than its currently assessed value of $1.19 million. Thus if, as it appears, Rep. Pombo has supported legislation that would financially benefit him and his family, he would likely be in violation of the prohibition against using his position as a member of Congress for his financial benefit as well as the House conflict-of-interest rules.
Rep. PomboÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s family members are paid highly by his campaign. He has paid his wife and brother at least $357,325 from his political funds, allegedly for Ã¢â‚¬Å“bookkeeping, fund-raising, [and] consulting,Ã¢â‚¬Â representing 25% of what he raised. The excessive size of the payments Rep. Pombo made to family members suggest they were for personal use, and were not legitimate campaign expenditures, in violation of campaign finance laws, making these payments an appropriate matter for investigation by the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.