Another Left Coast Republican Scandal

How about that Rep. Ken Calvert (R-California) movin' on up in the political world last month?

Rep. John T. Doolittle (R-Calif.), for example, was forced off the Appropriations Committee in April after the FBI raided his home in Oakton, searching for records of his wife's business because she worked for now-imprisoned lobbyist Jack Abramoff and other lobbyists while her husband performed legislative favors for their clients.

In selecting Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.), House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) navigated a political minefield of ethical concerns and internal politics, as the 19 California Republicans lobbied on Calvert's behalf to keep the seat in the delegation's hands. Boehner, in a statement on the decision, tacitly acknowledged questions about Calvert's land deals and spending he has secured for projects near those properties.

"Congressman Calvert answered every question asked of him," Boehner said of the "candid" closed-door session of the GOP's steering committee.


Calvert's rise had a beneficial domino effect for another lawmaker under scrutiny over Abramoff ties. Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.), who has been contacted by the Justice Department over his 2003 golf junket to Scotland with Abramoff, took over as ranking minority member of the Science and Technology subcommittee on space from Calvert, who was forced to give up all assignments to assume the coveted Appropriations spot.

Not a bad gig for a guy that even conservative Bloggers were against getting the promotion. Why were thy worried about it? Well, because of Calvert's penchant towards making shady land deals:
Boehner, meanwhile, faced criticism even in the conservative blogosphere for his decision last month to name Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.) to replace Doolittle on the powerful Appropriations panel. Doolittle stepped down from the panel after the FBI searched his house in its investigation into ties he and his wife had with Abramoff. Calvert has faced scrutiny over land deals and their proximity to earmarks, and several GOP lawmakers openly opposed his selection to the committee.

HMMM. Not even a month has passed since Calvert's promotion and already he is in more trouble:
A California city government agency broke the law when it sold a four-acre parcel of land to a group of investors which included Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Calif., an investigative grand jury has concluded.

Calvert and his partners planned to build a mini-storage facility on the property. The land could have served as the only community park in a predominately Hispanic, lower-income neighborhood, according to a former local recreation official.
And who would've figured it involved a shady land deal? And at the expense of a park for some poor minority kids to play in as well. Well, CREW might have been able to point out the obvious... Calvert was already named to their list of the 20 most corrupt politicians in DC before his promotion:

The Jurupa Community Services District, the entity that oversees many governmental services for the unincorporated sections of Riverside County, California, arranged a land deal with a partnership including Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA). Rep. Calvert was named by CREW as one of the 20 most corrupt members of Congress, in part, because he used his position to earmark funds to increase the value of his own property. In other words, the earmarks benefited Calvert's own land deals. One of those land deals we questioned was with the Jurupa Community Services District. CREW raised the concern that Calvert received "preferential treatment" in that $1.2 million deal.

Now, a grand jury has determined that the deal with the District violated California law:

The Jurupa Community Services District violated state law when it sold 4 acres of public land to Rep. Ken Calvert and his investment partners without first offering it to other public agencies -- including the local park district that wanted it, the Riverside County grand jury concluded in a report released Tuesday.

The grand jury recommends that the water and sewer agency turn over the $1.2 million it pocketed from the sale, minus costs, to the Jurupa Area Recreation and Park District.

Yep... Go figure? Think Boehner will have any better luck on his next round of promotions? I doubt it. Finding a republican that isn't corrupt is hard work these days. And republicans aren't about hard work, only easy money for them. And YOU, unfortunately, are their mark.

Keep in mind that Calvert investigations were just offshoots from the Cunningham scandal:
DoJ wants information stretching back to 1997, and requests that broad could lead them to knock on many new doors. Independent reports have already confirmed that as offshoots of the Cunningham probe, the DoJ is looking into Reps. Jerry Lewis (R-CA), Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Ken Calvert (R-CA), Katherine Harris (R-FL), and possibly others, as well as former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) -- and, of course, Cunningham himself.
Anyone else think there may be some more skeletons in this guy's closet?

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