Catch of the Day: The Pelosi-Samoa Connections May Be Even Deeper
(SEE Editor's Note Below)
Fishing around in the now widely-known Samoan exception to the recently passed Minimum Wage bill (where tuna industry workers there are apparently being paid $3.26 an hour), Andy's Angle cast a wide net and hauled in the following:
The interesting thing, however, is that the largest employer in American Samoa is Del Monte Foods' StarKist Tuna, home to over 75% of the island's workforce. Del Monte Foods, as it turns out, is headquartered in the District of the new Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Smelling a whiff of impropriety, House Republicans have thrown up some serious questions about the exemption and who inserted it into the bill.
NewsBusters points out that few in the Mainstream Media will cover this story given their breathless love for the new Speaker. FoxNews has picked up the story, questioning the potential influence Del Monte may have as a major player in the Speaker's District. Doing my own research, however, I've discovered that the impropriety is much deeper. Speaker Pelosi's husband Paul, it turns out, owns something to the order of $17 million in Del Monte stock!(Editor's Note -- The previous sentence is noted in Wikipedia and has not otherwise been verified. Commenter #3 at the related BizzyBlog post, claiming to be Tom Elliott of FunkyPundit, says he was told that no one holds more than $14 mil worth of DLM stock [except Heinz]. BizzyBlog Commenter #4 Kevin says that this item was entered into Wiki at 3:04 PM Jan. 12 [GMT, it is believed]; that link is here. The link claiming $17 mil in Del Monte ownership by Paul Pelosi goes to Nancy Pelosi's Wiki page. The Del Monte ownership interest is not claimed at that page. Thus, there is reason to believe that the claim of such ownership interest on the part of Paul Pelosi is suspect.)
I wonder if he stands to benefit should StarKist avoid an additional $2 hike in hourly wages... (actually, for the Samoans, it would be a $3.99 hike from $3.26 to $7.25 -- Ed.)
Follow the money trail a little further and Speaker Pelosi may have a sympathetic accomplice in the US Senate. It turns out that the H.J. Heinz Company owns nearly 75% of Del Monte's stock. Heinz, of course, is the company owned in large part by the H.J. Heinz family of whom Teresa Heinz is a major heir as the widow of H.J. Heinz the III, the late Senator from Pennsylvania. And who did Mrs. Heinz marry shortly after her late husband's passing? Senator John Forbes Kerry of Massachussetts!
If the Del Monte holdings of Mr. Pelosi are supposed to appear on her Congressional Disclosure Form, I don't see them. The Del Monte stock could be owned by a separate holding company that is listed, or it could be that such holdings don't have to be disclosed. Hopefully, readers here will know more.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.