Economic Stabilaztion Bill Earmarks-Truth! &  Unproven!

Earmarks In The 2008 Economic Stabilization Bill HR 1424 Truth! & Unproven!

Summary of eRumor:

eRumors circulating about earmarks that are in the 2008 Economic Stabilization Bill HR 1424 that have nothing to do with financial recovery.   One version focuses on a tax credit earmark for American Samoa accusing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi of adding it owing to ethical questions over a 2007 minimum wage controversy having to with Pelosi, Starkist, Del Monte and American Samoa.

The Truth:

In late September and early October of 2008, after a financial crisis in the home lending industry the United States Senate met and passed HR 1424, the 2008 Economic Stabilization Bill to bail out the industry at a cost of $700,000,000,000.   When news of the bill was released it was found to have several controversial earmarks.

Earmarks include an economic development credit for American Samoa, tax exemptions for makers of wooden bows and arrows for children, funding for wool research, and amendments to the Internal Revenue Code provisions relating to the tax deduction for domestic film and television productions.  These were written into the bill before it was presented to the house in March of 2008.

On October 3, 2008 the San Francisco Chronicle reported.  “While crafting a bill intended to rescue the U.S. economy this week, lawmakers couldn’t stop themselves from adding billions of dollars in tax breaks that have little to do with restoring confidence in financial markets.”

An eRumor questioning the relationship between the American Samoa earmark and Speaker of the house, Nancy Pelosi, gained momentum the week of October 20, 2008 over past criticism of a minimum wage hike in 2007 that omitted American Samoa.  

On January 12, 2007 the Washington Times wrote an article about Pelosi and the minimum wage law saying,” House Republicans yesterday declared ‘something fishy’ about the major tuna company in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco district being exempted from the minimum-wage increase that Democrats approved this week.”

The 2007 bill raised the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 per hour and extended for the first time the U.S. territory of the Northern Mariana Islands but exempted American Samoa.  Starkist, a division of Del Monte Foods, has facilities in American Samoa with an employee base of about 5,000, roughly 75% of the work force on that island.  The company is headquartered in Nancy Pelosi’s district was and was very much against the raise in wages.     A spokesperson for the Speaker of the House said that neither StarKist nor Del Monte had lobbied Pelosi in any way.

Facts about Pelosi’s husbands Starkist/Del Monte stock investments have not been listed in her earnings disclosure.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics,  neither Starkist nor Del Monte were found on the contributor list for Pelosi in donations amounting $10,000 or more.

The Bill was passed in the House Mar 5, 2008, passed by the Senate Oct 1, 2008 and signed by President Oct 3, 2008.

Click here to see the 2008 Economic Stabilization Bill  HR 1424

Click for SF Chronicle article


updated 10/20/08