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Weller's Overseas Real Estate Investments Draw Scrutiny

Rep. Jerry Weller’s (R-Ill.) personal and financial associations with Nicaragua were the subject of a lengthy Chicago Tribune front-page story today, alleging the 7-term congressman has not fully disclosed real estate investments in Nicaragua and didn’t accurately state the value of the properties.

The piece also details Weller’s support of the Central American Free Trade Agreement, which included legal protections for overseas property. Most Republicans voted for the legislation, which passed by two votes in 2005. From 2003-2006, Weller served as vice chairman of the Western Hemisphere subcommittee on the International Relations Committee.

Weller is married to Zury Rios Sosa, a member of the Guatemelan Congress, and the daughter of a general who seized power in the country’s 1982 bloody coup.

Weller did not respond to the paper’s questions.

Weller’s last two Democratic opponents have made an issue of his personal and financial connections to Latin America, but he has weathered the controversy in the past. Last year, he won 55 percent of the vote against John Pavich in an otherwise strong year for Democrats.

The Joliet-based district, though, has been competitive at the national level. President Bush only won 53 percent of the vote in 2004, and 50 percent in 2000.

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