Conflict-of-interest accusation against Ed Perlmutter regarding green banking

Did Colorado Representative Ed Perlmutter, a Democrat, insert a provision in a climate-change bill to benefit so-called "green" banks like one he helped found in San Francisco? That's the charge leveled by an article in the Washington Times. The measure in question, according to the Times, "calls on bank regulators to promote green banking and says federal dollars should be used to support energy-efficient home improvements at government-funded housing projects." As such, it would boost New Resource Bank , which lists Deana Perlmutter, the rep's former wife, and Leonard Perlmutter, his father, among its founding organizers. As for Perlmutter, he "holds shares in New Resource Bank valued between $15,001 and $50,000 through a trust for his children," as well as a "separate investment partnership" that totals "between $1,001 and $15,000," according to financial disclosure forms.

Thus far, the Times' story hasn't gotten much traction, possibly because the newspaper has a distinct far-right bias that often leads other media organizations to shy away from its material. Nevertheless, the report seems to be credibly sourced, and Perlmutter's office doesn't dispute the basic facts when given a chance to respond by the Times. Instead, spokeswoman Leslie Oliver argues that New Resource Bank "was not even on the radar screen" when Perlmutter first introduced his green-banking ideas (the firm is three-years old), and besides, "any bank can use this or take advantage of this, period. So it's equal opportunity."

It's also awkward from an appearance standpoint, no matter what newspaper broke the story.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts