A Real Steal?

It's hardly news that there aren't many paupers to be be found in Congress, but the Washington Post takes an interest in the ones whose fortunes took a remarkable turn for the better after they took office -- might it have something to do with discretionary earmarks that boost the values of their real estate investments?

Reps. Alan Mollohan (D-WV), Dennis Hastert (R-IL), and Gary Miller (R-CA) to name just a few have come under the microscope for using their inside knowledge of projected government expenditures to inform their real estate investments. As Keith Ashdown of Taxpayers for Common Sense puts it, "I think what you've seen in the last three or four cycles, is you've seen on both sides this new era of the businessman-lawmaker."

Seems to me it's another good argument for more transparency in the earmarking process so that we can know where the money is going and work out whether there's a conflict of interest before it escalates to scandal proportions.