Richard Pombo

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Richard Pombo is the former Republican six-term member of the U.S. House of Representatives from the 11th district of California. He served from 1995 to 2006. In 2003, Pombo assumed the chairmanship of the House Resources Committee, becoming the youngest chairman in the House, with the strong backing of Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

Daily Kos tags: Richard Pombo, Pombo

Pombo Legacy


Pombo one of the 13 most ethically challenged members of Congress

CREW RELEASES NEW REPORT -- REVEALS THE MOST TAINTED MEMBERS OF CONGRESS, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, October 5, 2005

"Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) released a 93-page report entitled Beyond DeLay: The 13 Most Corrupt Members of Congress, documenting the egregious, unethical and possibly illegal activities of the most tainted Members of Congress. For the first time, CREW has compiled and analyzed all these members’ transgressions in tandem with the federal laws and congressional rules they may have violated."
"CREW has also launched a new website, Beyond DeLay, which details the tainted thirteen’s violations and encourages visitors, through the website, to contact their member of Congress to ask for an investigation of these members."
Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA) is on the list for "misuse of the franking privilege, accepting campaign contributions in return for legislative assistance, keeping family members on his campaign payroll, and misusing official resources." His Beyond DeLay page is here.

PombointheirPocket.org is a project of Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund and was created to expose Richard Pombo's ties to special interest developers, oil companies and lobbyists.


Say No to Pombo blog


Get Richard or Die Tryin', a Grist Magazine article about environmentalists' efforts to unseat Rep. Pombo, January 6, 2006


Pombo family park tour cost taxpayers $4,935 to rent RV -- congressman says it was all business, by Zachary Coile, San Francisco Chronicle, February 10, 2006.

"House Resources Chairman Richard Pombo is facing questions about billing the taxpayers for a summer tour of the national parks with his family in a recreational vehicle."

More from The Stakeholder:

CA-11: Pinballing Pombo and Think Progress: Pombo Doesn’t Know What He Did Last Summer

Lobbyist's Ties to Lawmaker Examined, by Richard A. Serrano, Los Angeles Times, February 8, 2006

"Duane Gibson, a Washington lobbyist under federal scrutiny in the Jack Abramoff scandal, helped raise money for a California congressman who championed legislation that would benefit Western mining interests that Gibson represented."

Pombo caught in new scandal: using his official position to stop an investigation of a contributor. The contributor was Charles Hurwitz, chief executive of publicly traded Maxxam of Houston, which controls Pacific Lumber, real estate and other commercial interests (Forbes Story about Hurwitz). The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was seeking $300 million from Hurwitz for his role in the collapse of a Texas savings and loan that cost taxpayers $1.6 billion." From L.A. Times Story "A Donor Who Had Big Allies", January 8, 2006

Gristmill Post


Daily Kos diary: Proposed amendment that would allow multinational corporations to buy almost all public lands for mining, November 10, 2005


CA-11: Pombo's Predictable Solution, posted by Mike Disharoon, November 9, 2005

"In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Rep. Richard Pombo (CA-11) tried to use the tragedy as an impetus for opening up ANWAR for drilling. Unsurprisingly, he's now using the predicted spike in heating costs as an excuse to deforest our national parks..." The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Pombo introduced legislation that would eliminate government fees on wood harvested for firewood from national forests.

Governor opposes Pombo: Republicans disagree over offshore drilling by Zachary Coile, S.F. Chronicle Washington Bureau, November 4, 2005.

"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger urged on Thursday a fellow California Republican, Rep. Richard Pombo of Tracy, to back off his aggressive efforts to change the federal moratorium protecting California's coastline from offshore drilling."

Bad Week for Pombo, posted on The Stakeholder by Mike Disharoon, November 3, 2005, highlights recent stories about Pombo: an article from Roll Call, editorials from the New York Times and San Jose Mercury News, and a letter from Governor Schwarzenegger.


Rep. Pombo’s Family & Friends Network from the League of Conservation Voters details how Rep. Pombo puts corporate special interests and his own personal agenda ahead of his constituents.

"Representative Pombo has a record of abusing his power to put his own personal agenda and the interests of corporate special interests ahead of his constituents. From proposing the sale of our national parks to the highest bidder to pushing legislation designed to help his own family, to attempts to drill off our coastline, Rep. Pombo has abused his power in Congress to pay off his 'Network of Family and Friends,'" said Susan Smartt, CLCV Executive Director. "Rep. Pombo ought to be paying attention to his constituents, not his corporate cronies."

PDF Version of the Report


On October 5, The Bottom Feeder (Will Harper) of the East Bay Express in California, points to challenging demographics in the way of Democrats desire to unseat Rep. Pombo in 2006:

"Just four years ago, 45.1 percent of that district's voters were Democrats, while 42.5 percent were Republican. But after the lines were redrawn, the gerrymandered district -- which now includes Pleasanton, San Ramon, and Danville -- broke down 44.6 percent Republican and 37 percent Democrat."
"Who can the Democrats blame for that? Only themselves. Democratic leaders in the state Legislature redrew those lines, according to one theory, to ensure that the district next to Pombo's, previously represented by scandal-tarnished Gary Condit, remained under Democratic control. "

Pombo proposes lifting offshore drilling moratorium, by Zachary Coile, San Francisco Chronicle, Friday, October 7, 2005

"New legislation moving through Congress would end the quarter-century-old moratorium on drilling off the coast of California and other states, and shift the power to block development in coastal waters from Congress to governors and state legislatures.
"The proposal by House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, also adds a sweetener to boost offshore oil and gas production: States that allow drilling off their coasts would gain a greater share of royalty payments from energy companies, which usually go to the federal government."
...
19 more paragraphs

No Arctic oil drilling? How about selling parks? Pombo hopes threat will boost bid to tap refuge's resources, by Zachary Coile, San Francisco Chronicle, September 24, 2005

"House Resources chairman Richard Pombo is circulating a draft of a bill that would sell 15 national parks and require the National Park Service to raise millions of dollars by selling the naming rights to visitors' centers and trails."
"If drilling continues to be banned in the refuge, Pombo's staff argued, the government would have to sell parks as well as advertising space on park buses, trams and ferries to reach the level of revenues expected from oil leases sales in the Alaskan refuge."
"While Brian Kennedy, Pombo's spokesman, said the Tracy Republican lawmaker has no plans to introduce the bill, environmental groups expressed outrage that he would even suggest selling national parks -- including the Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site in Danville -- to raise money for the federal Treasury."
17 more paragraphs

Pombo Seeks to Weaken Endangered Species Act, by Eric Niiler, NPR, All Things Considered, July 22, 2005

U.S. Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA), head of the House Committee on Natural Resources, would change the basic foundations of the Endangered Species Act. Environmentalists call him an extremist. Supporters say he represents the views of his constituents.

Bay Area environmentalists increasingly targeting Pombo, by Malcolm Maclachlan, San Joaquin News Service, April 27, 2005

Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy (CD-11), is in his seventh term in the U.S. House of Representatives. His efforts to destroy environmental protections and put resource extraction at the top of the agenda for many federal agencies (e.g., Dept. of the Interior, BLM) has led to a growing Bay Area movement to elect someone else.
Pombo is the chair of the House Resources Committee, and has been working to repeal the Endangered Species Act and open the ANWAR to drilling.
Pombo has faced little competition in his previous elections, but the well-known State Senator Mike Machado, D-Linden, has been mentioned as a potentially effective opponent.
The 2001 redistricting process put parts of the liberal Bay Area into CD-11.

Activists seek ethics probe for Pombo, by Lisa Vorderbrueggen, Contra Costa Times, April 21, 2005

Two California environmental groups have asked Congress to launch an investigation into whether Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, violated ethics rules when his staff sought to alter wind energy regulations without disclosing his parents' financial interest in an Altamont Pass wind farm.
Californians for Renewable Energy and the Golden Gate Audubon Society sent a letter Wednesday to seven lawmakers including Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco.
"We were very concerned that there might be a conflict of interest involved and that Mr. Pombo's actions will have a chilling effect on efforts to solve the issue of unacceptable bird kills on the Altamont," said Golden Gate Audubon chief Elizabeth Murdock.
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12 more paragraphs



Congressman Pombo had conflict in wind power dealings, Associated Press, April 7, 2005

"Aides for Rep. Richard Pombo pressed federal officials last year to ease guidelines for California's wind power industry without disclosing that his family had a financial stake in the industry, a newspaper reported Thursday.
Issued in 2003, the guidelines seek to reduce the number of birds killed by the spinning blades of power-producing turbines, such as those in the Altamont Pass east of Oakland and others near Palm Springs.
Pombo's parents own a 300-acre ranch in the Altamont Pass and have received hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalties from wind power turbines on their land over the last 17 years, the Los Angeles Times said.
Royalties paid in 2001, the most recent year for which information is available, topped $125,000 during a time when California was facing an energy crisis that increased utility prices, the Times said, which cited price and production records."
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7 more paragraphs

Pombo paid kin from campaign: Wife, brother received $465K from lawmaker's fund since 2001, by Hank Shaw, The Record (Stockton, CA) December 5, 2004

Records from the Federal Election Commission show that Rep. Pombo used campaign funds to pay more than $255,916 to his wife and brother over the last two years. This was about 25% of the amount that Rep. Pombo raised for his re-election campaign. In 2001 and 2002, he paid an additional $39,938 to his wife. In the same period, his brother was paid $169,299. Since 2001, the family has been paid $465,153 by the campaign.

Bush Policy Gets a Ride on the House: Taxpayers Pay for Election-Year Mailing, by Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post, October 13, 2004.

In October 2004, using funds from the House Resources Committee, Rep. Pombo mailed fliers to 100,000 residents in Minnesota, Wisconsin and a few western states praising President Bush's support of snowmobiling in Yellowstone National Park. The 338 word flyer mentioned President Bush five times, and included "The House Resources Committee is working with President Bush to ensure that snowmobilers have access to our National Parks and recreation areas. You can rest assured that the House Resources Committee and the Bush Administration are working together to protect your right to ride."
In the last year, his committee sent mailings promoting the work of Republicans from western states who expected competitive races in November.

Pombo loses ability to fly under radar, by C.W. Nevius, San Francisco Chronicle, September 24, 2005

The first paragraph: "Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, captured the national spotlight this week with his aggressive challenge to the Endangered Species Act. As chairman of the House Resources Committee, Pombo fast-tracked his alternative, the Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act, through the committee and on to the House floor."

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