Perlmutter banks on cap-and-trade

Colorado Congressman Ed Perlmutter, a Democrat who represents the 7th Congressional District in suburban Denver, got tagged in a Washington Times news story for pushing legislation that could help a so-called “green bank” in which he has invested.

The Perlmutter fracas illustrates one of the numerous problems with the cap-and-trade bill that recently passed the House of Representatives. His measure was among hundreds of pages of amendments added to the bill just before it was voted upon by the full House.

Perlmutter’s staff responded angrily to the Washington Times article through a blog on The Denver Post Web site. A spokeswoman for the congressman said he owns “a minuscule part of a bank” that will receive no direct impact from the bill.

According to the Washington Times story, the shares Perlmutter owns in New Resource Bank of California are valued at between $15,000 and $50,000. And it’s not impossible that the bank could benefit from the legislation Perlmutter has pushed. To eliminate such ethical questions, he ought to divest himself of all his holdings in the bank.

Perlmutter first introduced his Green Resources for Energy Efficient Neighborhoods in the last session of Congress. The bill requires federal bank regulators to promote green banking by doing things like making federal money available for energy efficiency improvements at government-funded housing.

Perlmutter and several of his family members have invested in New Resource Bank, which specializes in things like home loans for energy efficiency improvements or green construction.

Perlmutter’s legislation didn’t become law last year. So this summer, he managed to get it added as an amendment to the cap-and trade climate bill. In fact, it was part of the 300 pages of amendments stuck onto the enormous piece of legislation just before it was narrowly passed by the House on June 26.

There are many reasons this newspaper and countless other voices object to the cap-and-trade legislation. The fact that it includes taxpayer-subsidized measures aimed at favored industries, and that many of those provisions were added with no opportunity for debate or even for members to read the provisions, is one of the major objections we have.

We suspect there will be more revelations in coming weeks of items added as Perlmutter’s was, which will raise eyebrows and increase anger over the bill.

That’s just one more reason we appreciate the fact that our congressman, 3rd District Rep. John Salazar, voted “No” on the cap and trade bill.


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