by Frank Holmes, reporter
Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi retired and rode off into the San Francisco sunset months ago… but thanks to her legislation, you’re still paying hundreds of millions of dollars to projects that benefit her donors.
The Biden administration just cut a $200 million check to Pelosi’s benefactors in the far-Left city, a move that Republican watchdogs say breaks the law.
Before she left, Pelosi worked with Biden officials to prop up the richest people, in the fanciest golf courses, in one of the richest areas of the United States at your expense.
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The $200 million went to the Presidio national park in San Francisco. The park is overseen by the Presidio Trust, which in turn is overseen by longtime Pelosi’s cronies who gave given tens of millions of dollars to the Democratic Party — including fistfuls of campaign cash to Pelosi herself.
To make matters worse, the $200 million is the entire amount of money Congress set aside for park improvements in a bill Pelosi muscled through Congress.
So, then-Speaker Pelosi forced the bill through, then her donors cashed in.
And the fact that a single dime of taxpayer funding went to the Presidio — which has a series of high-end hotels and perfectly manicured golf courses where San Francisco’s elite can play and make business deals — is outrageous and illegal, Republicans say.
Now Republicans want heads to roll in the Biden administration.
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The emerging scandal began with two pieces of legislation Biden says are a big part of his legacy: the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA).
These two bill gave the National Park System an additional $1.53 billion in taxpayer funding, and as her price for helping Biden cement his legacy she asked for a huge chunk of the proceeds to go to the her home district… even after she left office.
“Concerningly, nearly 24 percent of that funding went to one Congressional district, represented by former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, including the entire $200 million provided for deferred maintenance in the IRA,” wrote Reps. Bruce Westerman, R-Ark., and Tom Tiffany, R-Wis., in a letter to the Biden administration last week.
Everything about the sweetheart deal Pelosi worked as she ran out the door is illegal, Republicans say.
First of all, “by law, the park is supposed to be financially self-sufficient,” said Senator John Barrasso, R-Wyo., ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. But Pelosi’s spokesperson says “these costs are necessary for the park’s upkeep,” since park officials admit it’s $400 million in the hole.
Second, that money could go to the richest portions of the well-to-do park. National Park Service director Chuck Sams testified before Congress that taxpayers’ money could go to support the Presidio’s luxury hotels and golf courses; no one put any restrictions on the funds “that I’m aware of.”
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Third, the entire grant might be illegal. The original press release for the project, posted on Pelosi’s website before she stepped down, said the funds would help turn the ritzy park into a “zero climate impact park.”
Whatever your opinion of forcing U.S. taxpayers to foot the bill for San Francisco to help one of its wealthiest neighborhoods go green, it’s not a function authorized by the GAOA or IRA, Sams told Congress.
Then, there’s the fact that Pelosi appears to be using your money to benefit her donors. Pelosi sucked up a steady diet of their campaign cash like it was a freezer full of Jeni’s ice cream.
Federal Election Commission records show a member of the park’s board, George Marcus, gave a whopping $33.6 million to Democratic candidates over the years, including $723,000 to Nancy Pelosi’s campaign and/or the Nancy Pelosi Victory Fund.
The chair of the Presidio Trust, Lynne Benioff, gave $69,000 to the Nancy Pelosi Victory Fund and $10,400 directly to Pelosi’s campaign.
Then again, Pelosi may not have their financial interests in mind: She may have forced you to pay for her retirement plan.
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“I’m a regular at the Presidio,” Pelosi told a local media outlet, the Nob Hill Gazette, in 2021. “It’s just so beautiful to walk and see the bridge and then walk back and see the city.”
Sams’ testimony “raised numerous questions about whether the hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer funding transferred to the Presidio in San Francisco will be appropriately utilized for deferred maintenance and repairs,” Westerman and Tiffany wrote.
Ultimately, Sams testified, the decision was made by one person: Shannon Estenoz, the assistant secretary of Fish and Wildlife and Parks at the U.S. Department of the Interior.
What did Pelosi demand from Biden? Did the administration know the funding was illegal? Have any of Pelosi’s donors given money to the Biden family?
A spokesman for the now-retired Speaker Pelosi, Drew Hammill, said the criticism was nothing more than a “made-up silly thing out of disinformation.”
But Republicans aren’t buying it.
“This isn’t building back better,” said Barasso. “It’s Pelosi’s pork park.”
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She’s long gone from Congress, and a California Republican has taken her place as Speaker of the House, but Nancy Pelosi is still bringing home enough bacon for her megadonors to live high on the hog, at your expense.
Frank Holmes is a veteran journalist and an outspoken conservative that talks about the news that was in his weekly article, “On The Holmes Front.”