Culture of corruption – followup
January 24, 2007
In a previous post, I discussed the fact that the Democrats’ proposed minimum wage increase would exempt American Samoa, a move that would strongly benefit one of the companies in Nancy Pelosi’s district. In response to the backlash caused by this action, Pelosi claimed the following (link via QandO):
"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 earlier this month.
Let’s see what happened:
The House, however, passed the minimum-wage bill with the American Samoa exemption.
Oops. I guess either Speaker Pelosi’s influence with the committee wasn’t strong enough, or she didn’t push quite as hard as she said she would. Go figure.
UPDATE: In the comments, Cyril points out some information that makes this seem less like a clear-cut case of corruption and more like simple hypocrisy:
Pelosi co-sponsored the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 1999 (and subsequent
bills), all of which had pretty much the same language. But all of
those bills were sponsored BEFORE Del Monte bought StarKist. All of
those bills included a wage hike for the Commonwealth of the Northern
Mariana Islands but not for American Samoa.
This information is similar to that presented in the defense of Pelosi posted by Media Matters. While I don’t believe that it lets the Speaker off the hook, particularly given her statement that she would have this loophole closed, I do believe that it makes it significantly less likely that this was an attempt to reward a company in her district and more likely that it was merely a recognition of the negative effects a minimum wage would have on a Democratic constituency. I still think it is worth looking into, but I am less inclined to believe that there was any sort of quid pro quo here.