Here are the specifics: The GOP is hammering Pelosi for including a provision for $25 million in waterfront improvements in San Francisco in a big water redevelopment bill passed by the House in April. The GOP is insinuating that the provision was included by Pelosi because it could boost the value of land her husband owns in the city.
The AP jumped at the GOP's accusations late yesterday, moving this story about the GOP's attack.
As the AP story noted, Pelosi's aides are defending her by pointing out that "the waterfront improvements were requested by the Port of San Francisco," not by Pelosi, and noting that the rental properties owned by Pelosi's husband are at least a mile away from the project.
If it were proven that the improvements were in fact requested by the Port of San Francisco, and not Pelosi herself, of course, it would render the story thoroughly bogus -- unfit for publication, really. The AP, however, merely attributed this line to Pelosi's people. It's unclear whether the AP made a serious effort to determine whether it was objectively true or not. This allowed the news org to run with the GOP hit as a he-said-she-said dispute.
But I've just gotten off the phone with the Port of San Francisco. Guess what? Its representatives told me in no uncertain terms that it requested the improvements, and that Pelosi only included the improvements at their request. Here's what Brad Benson, the special project manager of the Port of San Francisco, said to me:
"The port initiated these requests. They came entirely from the city and county of San Francisco. [The requests] were generated at the staff level. The port initiated our request through the city and county of San Francisco. Our requests were funneled through the mayor's office on up to Speaker Pelosi's office...If anyone is claiming that Pelosi initiated these requests in some way, that's completely false."