Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Pelosi Paid Husband with PAC Funds

Washington Times has the exclusive that Speaker Nancy Pelosi has paid almost $100,000 to her husband's real estate and investment firm over the past nine years.

Big deal, right? Doesn't everyone in Washington do that? Well, maybe, but then they are not the Speaker who supported a bill last year that would ban such activity. From the Wash.Times:
The payments have quadrupled since Mr. Pelosi took over as treasurer of his wife's committee in 2007, Federal Election Commission records show. FLS is on track to take in $48,000 in payments this year alone - eight times as much as it received annually from 2000 to 2005, when the committee was run by another treasurer.

Lawmakers' frequent use of campaign donations to pay relatives emerged as an issue in the 2006 election campaigns, when the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal gave Democrats fodder to criticize Republicans such as former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas and Rep. John T. Doolittle of California for putting their wives on their campaign and PAC payrolls for fundraising work.
I think that technically, what Pelosi has done is not illegal, but it sure doesn't look right.

But what is really not on the up and up is this:
Between 1999 and 2006, FLS collected $500 per month to cover rent, utilities and equipment for the leadership PAC, according to the FEC records. The PAC's address is listed as a personal mailbox in San Francisco, across the street from FLS's Montgomery Street office building, but the rent payments went to an office space.

In early 2007, the PAC's treasurer, Leo T. McCarthy, former Democratic speaker of the state assembly and lieutenant governor in California, died. Mr. Pelosi took over as treasurer and his company's PAC payouts rose.

At that point, FLS started charging the PAC $24,000 per year for accounting work. In January 2008, the PAC's rent - paid to FLS - also quadrupled from $500 to $2,000 per month.

Katie Falkenberg/The Washington Times PARTNERSHIP: Nancy Pelosi's husband, Paul F. Pelosi, was by her side at a Democratic event in 2006.

Mr. McCarthy, the previous treasurer, had done the work as a volunteer, according to FEC documents and Jennifer Crider, a senior adviser to Mrs. Pelosi and spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. She said FLS' accounting fees are in line with costs for other PACs.
So when Paul Pelosi becomes the treasurer, accounting fees become necessary, but not under the previous treasurer. According to FEC reports, in 2004, PAC to the Future paid just shy of $17,000 for legal, bookkeeping and FEC reporting services. In 2007, the figure jumped to $32,718.75 for the same services. Leo McCarthy was the treasurer, officially, until April 2, 2007, but had passed away on February 5, 2007. This in itself is no big deal, but really Pelosi's PAC should have had an assistant treasurer since the last report that McCarthy "signed" was just a week before his death.

Still while I don't think what Pelosi has done is illegal in any sense of the word, it does seem, well, hypocritical at least that the Democrats tarred and feathered Tom DeLay and John Doolittle for these kinds of things.

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