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Jul 02nd
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Rep. Frank LoBiondo scrutinized for earmark spending

Congress first approved funds for Absecon Island in 1996, and the first phase was completed in 2004, before LoBiondo married his current wife. The couple moved to the Ventnor home in 2005, according to the statement.

"When Congress authorized earmarks, the Congressman's focus was always the needs of the communities he represents," the statement read.

The Post cited lawmakers from Georgia and Maryland for earmarking beach replenishment funds for communities where they own vacation homes.

But they are pikers compared to Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), who earmarked $100 million in projects to revitalize downtown Tuscaloosa, according to the Post. Shelby's title business, with a nephew's legal practice as a tenant, survived in the redeveloped area, which includes a new federal courthouse, while other properties were taken.

The location of Shelby's business "was the worst block in town," another local businessman, whose nearby holdings were acquired for the redevelopment, complained to the Post. But the project has transformed a formerly blighted area. Shelby told the newspaper that any benefits to him were so "remote" from the public purpose as to be irrelevant.

Rep. Rubén Hinojosa (D-Tex.) made a similar argument after obtaining $665,000 to widen a road past his family's food processing plant and nearby commercial property he was developing, according to the Post. The newspaper reported he and his wife had certified they had no financial interest in the road work.

Hinojosa told the Post that he sold the development property before the earmark went through, and a spokeswoman for the family company said it had not discussed the roadwork with the company that bought the site.

The executive branch is often faulted for having revolving doors between key positions and industries that benefit from regulatory and funding decisions, exemplified by the Wall Street executives who have filled high-profile positions in the Bush and Obama administrations.

But ethical requirements have been far lower in the legislative branch. There is little transparency in congressional finances, although ethical requirements differ slightly in the two chambers. Senators are supposed to certify that neither they nor immediate family members stand to benefit from earmarked funds. In the House, the restrictions apply only to representatives and their spouses, not to parents, children or other connections.

Comments (2)
2 Wednesday, 15 February 2012 08:28
Black Sheep Boy
This is absurd, criticizing the Congressman for seeking beach replenishment, as if he wouldn't have sought BEACH REPLENISHMENT if he'd lived onshore. How about flat out, blatantly lying to a Courier-Post editorial board interview about his true position on the 2007 Iraq troop surge with my trying in vain to tell Mike Daniels (chief editorial writer) that he's lying again, in real time, with me sitting 12 inches away protesting. See I was his 2010 opponent and I hope to be his 2012 opponent? See ...GET THIS... I actually filed an ethics complaint with the "office of Congressional Ethics" concerning LoBi's corruption of the 2009 AND 2010 election cycle caused by said lie. They will not, have not, given any status updates, maybe because they view me as a punk. So, where do we go from here? Perhaps take a look at my web site.... ....where I just posted a home made spin off of the movie "Caine Mutiny" staring Bogart, Van Johnson and Frank LoBiondo. No one takes me seriously in this very serious business I'm engaged in, therefore I'm entitled to be as snarky as I chose.
1 Thursday, 09 February 2012 08:55
Nelson Gaskill
Congressman LoBiondo has sought funding for Beach Replenshment up and down the South Jersey shoreline. The beachs are why most people visit the South Jersey Shore area. This article wrongfully insinuates it was done for nefarious reasons. Please do some research and learn how important the Tourism Industry is to the state of New Jersey.

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