Good Lord. If all of this is true, Nancy Pelosi may have just committed a political blunder of positively biblical proportions. Reports are circulating that Pelosi's husband owns substantial amounts of stock in Del Monte corporation. (So does the Heinz Company and -ahem- Theresa Heinz Kerry would be part and parcel of that). Del Monte in turn owns one of the two canneries on American Samoa that have been purposely exempted from the much-vaunted minimum wage bill. Jim Hoft has named it "Tunagate".
After passing their minimum wage legislation earlier this week the Washington Times noted that that Speaker Pelosi exempted hometown companies from minimum wage increases by passing legislation that excluded American Samoa. Her husband is reported to be a major stockholder in Del Monte, one of the hometown companies in question.
Because this scandalous news surfaced, Speaker Pelosi announced that democrats would revisit this minimum wage legislation.
Again the Washington Times reported:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi yesterday said Democrats will close a loophole in the House-passed minimum wage increase that exempts American Samoa — an action taken after it was revealed that one of the U.S. territory's main employers is based in her congressional district.
"I have asked the Education and Labor Committee as they go forward with the legislation to make sure that all of the territories have to comply with U.S. law on the minimum wage," Mrs. Pelosi said.
The decision follows criticism over the exemption, reported earlier this week by The Washington Times, to allow tuna canneries in American Samoa to continue paying $3.26 an hour — nearly $4 less than the $7.25 minimum wage passed by the House Wednesday.
Of course, there was never another vote on this conflict of interest since Wednesday and it could be months before action is taken.
What was all that noise about "culture of corruption"? Draining of swamps? Jim Hoft points to this editorial from the Anchorage Daily News.
But there's a curious, little-noticed loophole in the House Democrats' legislation, which still needs Senate approval. As The Washington Post pointed out, the minimum-wage boost won't apply everywhere on U.S. soil. Two U.S. enclaves in the Pacific Ocean, the Northern Marianas and Samoa, have long been exempt from the $5.15 federal minimum. The Democrats' measure ends the exemption for the Northern Marianas but keeps it for Samoa.
Ending the Northern Marianas exemption was an easy call for the Democrats. A booming garment industry there has taken full advantage of the cut-rate wage law, setting up sweatshops that exploited imported foreign workers while still putting the coveted "Made in the U.S.A." label on their products.
Congress took note of the abuses long ago — including efforts by Alaska's then-Sen. Frank Murkowski to close the loophole — so the industry hired disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. He worked with his congressional patron, Texas Republican Rep. Tom DeLay, to thwart any improvement in wages and working conditions in the Marianas. Their accomplices included Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young.
But in failing to give Samoan workers the same minimum-wage protection, Democrats look like they are playing a similar game of political protectionism. Samoa is represented by a Democratic non-voting delegate in the House; the Marianas send an elected "resident representative" who is a Republican. The complaint offered by Samoa's huge tuna canning industry — it can't afford higher wages because of cheap foreign competition — is no different from the griping of the Marianas' garment industry, which the Democrats correctly dismissed.
Talk about a case of meet the new boss. I have to say, I applaud the stand that the Gun Toting Liberal took right out of the gate on this issue.
Yes, I voted almost straight-ticket BLUE, and given the choices, YES, I’d most likely vote blue again next time, but I WILL NOT just stand by and allow the Democrats to waltz in and engage in criminal activity before our eyes without calling them crooks. And have no doubt about it, Speaker Pelosi is off to a pretty bad start. First, she tried to appoint an ABSCAM crook to be her right hand man. Second, she wasted millions of our tax dollars on her inaugaration parties, and now this?
Nice message you’re sending out there, Speaker
PelosiLegosi — NOT.