The Pork Butterfly Effect
Porkbuster weiners Glenn Reynolds and Ed Morrissey are hyping alleged windfall profits by GOP congressmen Dennis Hastert, Ken Calvert, and Gary Miller they received after selling property proximate to highway projects they have championed in Congress… if by “proximate” you mean “possibly within the same county”:
House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) made a $2 million profit last year on the sale of land 5 1/2 miles from a highway project that he helped to finance with targeted federal funds.
A Republican House member from California [Calvert], meanwhile, received nearly double what he paid for a four-acre parcel near an Air Force base after securing $8 million for a planned freeway interchange 16 miles away. And another California GOP congressman [Miller] obtained funding in last year’s highway bill for street improvements near a planned residential and commercial development that he co-owns.
Only in Miller’s case is there evidence that the highway project directly benefitted his property values–and in that case, the proposed improvements were still a mile away from his property. In all three cases, the Members in question were hardly the only people who were likely to benefit from these projects. Granted, politicians of all stripes seem often to be in position to profit from land deals and investment opportunities unavailable to the ordinary citizen, but these particular examples are so tenuous as to be risible.