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Another Corrupt House Democrat?

Mollohan's Foundation Got Free Rent from Earmark Recipient

Alan Mollohan has been under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a few years. Today it’s reported that his charitable foundation received free rent from a high-tech consortium that he blessed with millions of dollars in earmarks:

The West Virginia High Tech Consortium has provided more than $75,000 in free rent and administrative services to the Robert H. Mollohan Family Charitable Foundation, according to tax records, while receiving millions of dollars worth of earmarks from Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-W. Va.), who serves as the family foundation’s secretary.

The West Virginia High Technology Consortium Foundation is a nonprofit organization that Mollohan helped establish in the 1990s to bring high-tech jobs and training to his district in northern West Virginia. Mollohan has provided the WVHTC with millions of dollars of earmarks from his seat on the House Appropriations Committee. According to documents from an ongoing court case, Mollohan has been intimately involved in some of the organization’s major management decisions.

The Robert H. Mollohan foundation is a charity the family created in 2000 that provides small grants and internship opportunities to local students. It operates out of a building bearing Alan Mollohan’s name that is run by the WVHTC.

Neither Mollohan’s office nor the WVHTC responded to repeated requests from Roll Call for comments on this story…

Over the years, Mollohan has provided millions of dollars in earmarks for the WVHTC, and though he lists no position with the group on his annual financial disclosure forms, he appears to have been closely involved in the operations of that group and others that he provides with earmarks.

Mollohan has grown wealthy over the last few years while showering earmarks on organizations run by real estate partners. The entities that Mollohan has created with taxpayer money all seem to be run by former staffers, friends, and campaign donors. The ongoing investigation into this network prompted House Democrats to remove Mollohan from the Ethics Committee, but hasn’t yet prompted them to launch an ethics investigation into his finances – despite Nancy Pelosi’s promises to run the most ethical House in history.

Pelosi’s promises notwithstanding, we see ethics controversies surrounding John Murtha, Charlie Rangel, Sil Reyes, Paul Kanjorski, Pete Visclosky, and others. Will we have to wait for indictments before House Democrats do anything to clean up the mess?

With the 2010 midterms looming not too far off, that suits me fine.

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