WASHINGTON ó House Speaker Nancy Pelosi paid her husband's real estate and investment firm nearly $100,000 from her political action committee over the past decade, a practice that she voted to ban last year and that her party condemned as part of the "culture of corruption" when Republicans did it.
The Washington Times is reporting that the California Democrat's husband, Paul F. Pelosi, owns Financial Leasing Services Inc., which has received $99,000 in rent, utilities and accounting fees from the speaker's "PAC to the Future" over the PAC's nine-year history.
Last year, Pelosi supported a bill that would have banned members of Congress from putting spouses on their campaign staffs. The bill banned not only direct payments by congressional campaign committees and PACs to spouses for services including consulting and furndraising, but also "indirect compensation," such as payments to companies that employ spouses.
The bill passed the House in a voice vote but died in a Senate committee.
Last week, Pelosi's office defended the payments, saying they were legal because she is compensating her husband at fair market value for the work his firm has performed for the PAC.
Ethical watchdogs called Pelosi's arrangement "problematic."