So I found out today that I could have been a reporter. About a month ago I was looking at Pombo’s finances at OpenSecrets. I was looking for contribution amounts, but I wandered into expenditure amounts. I found that when you sort by amount spent, the places Pombo spent the most money wasn’t media consulting, as I expected, but members of his own family. Then, I saw that some lines were “Pombo, Annette” and others were “Annette Pombo”, so the real amounts were even higher – you had to add more than one line item. I told my wife, but I assumed this was just how the system worked – it turns out that I’m a better investigative reporter than I thought.
From the Stockton Record this weekend :
Federal records show that Rep. Richard Pombo used campaign funds to pay his wife and brother a total of $255,916 over the past two years—or 25 cents for every dollar the Tracy Republican raised for his re-election effort.
Reports filed with the Federal Election Commission also show Pombo’s campaign paid the congressman’s wife, Annette, an additional $39,938 from 2001 to 2002. His brother Randall received $169,299 during the same period, bringing the total payments to the family since 2001 to $465,153.
Although a few other representatives do pay their family members for staff work, no one else even comes close to these amounts. This isn’t really outright illegal, as far as I know, but what does it say about his character? I just wouldn’t want to be someone who gave $100 because I believed in his campaign, only to learn that $25 of my money went to his brothers or wives personal bank accounts. To think of it another way, Pombo gets 55% of his money from PACs, which means that special interests are almost directly paying his wife $50,000 per cycle for “clerical” work. In the interest of fairness, maybe there is a good reason for it, and if I hear one, I’ll post it.
If you want to see the numbers for yourself, please do.
The San Jose Mercury News also covered this story.
Thats it, the next time I find something news worthy, I’m posting it here.
Update : It appears that this story was posted at DailyKos, and a friend of mine linked to this site. I am not really fully up to speed as far as the site goes, but I will be over the next few weeks. If you are from dKos, welcome, and please tell me what you think.