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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Nancy Pelosi Paid Husband From Political Action Committee Fund

Nancy Pelosi has directed $99,000 from her political action committee (PAC) to her husband's real estate and investment firm over the last decade. Since Paul Pelosi took over as treasurer for the PAC in 2007, payments have quadrupled.

Last year Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House for the U.S. House of Representatives, supported a bill that had it passed, would have banned the practice of paying for services rendered by a spouse of a politician using monies given as political donations.

As the Washington Times reports, according to Federal Election Commission records, Financial Leasing Services Inc. (FLS), owned by Paul F. Pelosi, has received $99,000 in rent, utilities and accounting fees from the speaker's "PAC to the Future, over the last 9 years.

According to the report, FLS "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.

While not an illegal practice since the bill that would have banned this practice passed the house with a voice vote but did not get out of a Senate committee, therefore was never implemented into law, Melanie Sloan who is the executive director of the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a nonprofit ethics and watchdog group, calls these payments from Pelosi's PAC, to her husband, "problematic," and goes on to explain "From what I understand, Mr. Pelosi doesn't need the money, but this isn't the issue. ... As speaker of the House, it sends the wrong message. She shouldn't be putting family members on the payroll."

Nancy Pelosi's spokesman, Brendan Daly, defends the payments saying "She's followed all the appropriate rules and regulations in terms of records and paperwork. When [former treasurer] Leo McCarthy became ill, she thought that it was best that that firm did the accounting and she's paid fair market value in San Francisco."

From 1999 and 2006, FLS was receiving $500 a month in rent, utilities and equipment, and in early 2007 when Paul Pelosi took over the job of treasurer, those payments quadrupled to $2,000 per month. Paul Pelosi also receives $24,000 per year for accounting work, all together totaling $48,000 a year paid.

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.

In the first six months of 2008, Nancy Pelosi's husband's company, FLS, was the largest vendor for Nancy Pelosi's PAC.

According to the Washington Times report Political action committees are designed "to help politicians contribute to other candidates and build influence with colleagues."

This is not the first time one of Nancy Pelosi's PACs has been in trouble. In 2004, another of Pelosi's political action committees, named Team Majority, was fined $21,000 by the FEC for accepting over the legal limit donations and Team Majority was closed down after that fine was imposed.

I guess draining the Swamp" meant draining it into Nancy and Paul's own bank accounts.