The liberal publication Think Progress says that North County Congressman Darrell Issa is trying to use earmarks to enhance the value of his real estate investments. One of Issa's most valuable properties is a medical office building at 2067 West Vista Way in Vista, called the Vista Medical Center. The property was bought for $16.6 million in 2008; the buyer was Viper LLC, an Issa family business that the congressman has a $25 million stake in. Right after buying it, Issa began requesting earmarks to jack up the property's value, says Think Progress. He requested $2 million to expand West Vista Way, but only received $245,000. The next year he made another earmark request for $570,000 to add parking lots, widen the road, add bus stops and improve the sewer system. The highway project has not yet begun because of budget constraints, but the federal money is allocated. Issa has said that an "earmark is tantamount to a bribe."
Thanks to Matt Potter for sending this item along.