In a Shift, Pelosi Ready to Send Coconut Road Probe to Justice Department

Posted April 18, 2008 at 3:37pm

House Democratic leaders will support Senate-approved legislation that would require the Justice Department to open an investigation into a controversial earmark inserted into the highway technical corrections bill by an aide to Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska).

A senior Democratic aide Friday indicated that House leaders will “soon” take up and pass the Senate bill, and then send it to President Bush for his signature. The plan is a shift for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who earlier this week said the matter should be referred to the House ethics panel instead of the Justice Department.

“Congressman Young has said his staff did make this change. … It’s something the ethics committee should look at,” Pelosi said.

The Speaker’s remarks came just hours before Senate Democratic leaders on Thursday closed ranks behind the measure penned by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) to have Justice probe the earmark for a $10 million road project in Florida. The Boxer amendment passed, 63 to 29.