HER $AN FRAN TREAT
PELOSI WATER-BILL BID DRAWING FIRE
By GEOFF EARLE
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HOT PROPERTY: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed federal funding for San Francisco’s Embarcadero, near her hubby’s properties.
May 8, 2007 — WASHINGTON – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi used her clout to get lawmakers to back a San Francisco redevelopment project near her multimillion-dollar rental properties, disclosure documents reveal.
Pelosi got House members to authorize $25 million to improve the Embarcadero port area, clearing the way for cruise-ship-dock development and other improvements to aid the neighborhood’s comeback.
The Democrat’s district covers most of San Francisco.
“The appearance is obviously not good, and she needs to be forthcoming about how this impacts her financial interest,” Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) told The Post.
He didn’t offer proof that Pelosi would benefit.
Pelosi’s office confirmed that she got the provision included in a water-resources bill, which passed the House April 19.
But House financial-disclosure documents reveal that Pelosi’s husband, Paul, owns four commercial real-estate properties near the Embarcadero, which is home to many restaurants and hotels.
The properties earn combined rental income of more than $3 million.
One of the properties is 5,400 feet away from the redevelopment site.
“Does this financially benefit her? I don’t know the answer to that question,” said Hensarling, who chairs the Republican Study Committee, a group of conservative lawmakers.
Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said “1.1 miles is a long way in San Francisco,” adding, “This isn’t stuff that she pushed, this is what the port came to her with.”
“This is another baseless attack from a Republican minority seeking to distract from real issues of the day.”
But John Hart, a spokesman for Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), a hard-charging conservative critic of wasteful spending, said, “On its face, it appears to be a conflict of interest.”
Pelosi is the ninth richest member of the House, according to last year’s disclosure reports, with stocks and real-estate holdings worth between $15 million and $55 million.
In addition to his sprawling real-estate empire, Paul Pelosi owns stock in Microsoft, AT&T and Disney, as well as several California vineyards.
Speaker Pelosi’s role in pushing the project came to light because of new disclosure requirements passed by the Democratic House requiring members to declare when they get special “earmarks” tacked onto legislation.
Democrats put the rules in place after calling to reform Congress in the wake of a series of lobbying scandals and questions about other land deals.
Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) was criticized for getting more than $200 million earmarked for a highway near Illinois property he owned.
The $15 billion water-resources bill comes up for debate in the Senate this week.
Pelosi, who has become a lightning rod for GOP criticism, led the Democratic congressional takeover in 2006, charging there was a Republican “culture of corruption.”
She was blasted by the White House for her recent diplomatic jaunt to Syria.