Issa’s Own Earmarks

congressman darrell issaIssa Secured Nearly $1 Million in Earmarks Potentially Benefiting Real Estate He Owns

As Roll Call reported earlier this month, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) has a history of blending his personal business interests with his work as a member of Congress. Companies owned by the Issa family, including a firm called DEI (an acronym for Issa’s initials), set up websites to channel users to Issa’s official congressional campaign website. After Roll Call made an ethical inquiry to Issa, he changed the website.

ThinkProgress has discovered more troubling evidence that Issa may have blended his work as a lawmaker with his own business empire. After founding a successful car alarm company, he invested his fortune in a sprawling network of real estate companies with holdings throughout his district. One of the congressman’s most valuable properties, a medical office building at 2067 West Vista Way in Vista, California, is called the Vista Medical Center, and was purchased in 2008 for $16.6 million. Described as “a long-term investment,” the property was bought by a company called Viper LLC, a business entity operated by Issa’s family that he has a stake of up to $25 million dollars in.

issa mapAround the same time Issa made the Vista Medical Center purchase, the congressman began requesting millions of dollars worth of earmarks to widen and improve the highway adjacent to the building. In 2008, he requested $2 million to expand West Vista Way, the road in front of his “long-term investment,” but only received $245,000 from the government. The next year, Issa made another earmark request for improving the West Vista Way highway next to his building. He earmarked another $570,000, bringing his total to $815,000, to add parking lots, widen the road, add bus stops, improve the sewer system, and other utility work. A map showing the location of Issa’s property, and the road, is below:


Issa has said that an “earmark is tantamount to a bribe.” While Issa has handed out earmarks to his campaign donors in the past, in this case, he appears to be helping himself.

Although the highway project has not begun yet (because of local budget problems), the federal money is allocated through Issa’s efforts. Already, a firm representing Issa’s real estate company is advertising the Vista Medical Building and its “Excellent Access with Freeway Visibility.” As ethics experts have explained, lawmakers should avoid earmarks in the immediate area of their own business interests.

lee fang think progressIssa’s highway earmarks not only potentially benefit his multi-million dollar medical office building, they provide better access to his other properties in the area. About 2 miles down West Vista Way from the Vista Medical Center, he owns a commercial office building worth over $9 million, as well as an adjacent retail office building. The commercial office building leases to a number of different clients, and Issa’s retail building leases to a Hooter’s. All three properties are on the same highway, which he plans to retrofit with taxpayer money.

Lee Fang

Think Progress


  1. Tashjian115 says

    What nerve Issa has at being so rude to our Attorney General when he can steal for his own benefit from the American taxpayer. Put this money back and any of the interest you have earned from it. It’s NOT YOUR MONEY!! I did not give it to you and I’m sure California  with its budgetary problems did not either. One more statement to get through to you is that old, old adage that ” people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”.

  2. says

    Mr. Issa I am a vietnam era veteran. I am 64 years old and I have Pulmonary Fibross of the lungs. The inside of my lungs are harding. I was in the U.S. Army from 11/22/1966 to 8/28/68. I was exposed to Asbestosis 7 days a week 24 Hrs per day. At the time I did not know what asbestosis was nor was I informed of its hazzordus affects it would have on my lungs later on in life. The Goverment and Military was informed and knew what the hazzords were as far back as year 1900. as well in 1922 the first class action suit was filed. The Military and Goverment knew all along and continued to use asbestosis on there Ships, Barrecks, Motorpool’s, Family Houseing in the field and on equiptment.
    I was diagnossed with an Asbestosis relaited injury of the lungs in 1995 with Plurel Thinnking of the lungs
    I filled a claim with the Dept. of Veteran affairs San Diego Regional Office first time in the year 2008 and was denied. As my condition progressed I am know unemployable. I re filled in August of 2010. To date my case is still pending. I get the runaround over the phone when I call. Sir I know that you are very busy and have many more important issues to deal with. If you could find the time Sir could you please call there office on my behalf 1 800 827-1000 my file # 24 499 424 and see if they could expidite there decission. Presently I live on Social Security Dissability which is not much $1,700.64 per
    month. Sir please can you help me?
    Thankyou Neville Thomas Hawkins
    . 28886 W Worcester RD.
    Sun City, California. 92586
    Pho# 661-333-3271

  3. says

    You know something is badly wrong with are political system, when these politicans are allow to do this and everyone knows about it….This could only mean that all of them are doing it, helping themselves to free tax payers money while they cut, cut and cut somemore of what needed for the average american person.

    This is the only reason they become politican so that they can help themselve’s….God Help us!

    ( Can I get a earmark……NO!

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