At a time when the political landscape is examining government budgets with fine tooth combs and microscopes, a report by the non-partisan Sunlight Foundation has listed the Hon. Pedro Pierluisi, Puerto Rican Resident Commissioner and non-voting member of the US House of Representatives, as the House’s biggest spender, having accumulated $2.1 million in expenses to keep his office running.
As Sunlight’s article mentions:
In 2010, members, committees and other offices of the U.S. House of Representatives spent more than $1.36 billion on salaries, benefits, office equipment, travel, consultants and other expenses. Of that, the largest expense–about $1 billion–was for salaries and benefits, followed by spending on rent and communication costs, technology and related maintenance costs.
In addition, the report lists the House’s 10 biggest spenders, with Pierluisi outspending former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi by more than $300,000. Pierluisi, a registered Democrat in Republican Governor Luis Fortuño’s administration, is one of nine Democrats on the Top 10 list of spenders:
- Pedro Pierluisi, D-Puerto Rico: $2,117,000
- Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.: $1,860,000
- Jim Costa, D-Calif.: $1,764,000
- *Dina Titus, D-Nev.: $1,742,000
- *Scott Murphy, D-N.Y.: $1,741,000
- Ken Calvert, R-Calif.: $1,737,000
- Brad Sherman, D-Calif.: $1,733,000
- *Mary Jo Kilroy, D-Ohio: $1,724,000
- David Wu, D-Ore.: $1,699,000
- Laura Richardson, D-Calif.: $1,688,000
*-Denotes former member
EL NUEVO DÍA, Puerto Rico’s largest circulation newspaper, did get Pierluisi to comment about the Sunlight findings, as reported in Spanish by reporter José A. Delgado. We have translated a few sections of the article here:
Pedro Pierluisi said today that it is the very leadership of the House of Representatives that decides how money allocated to the office of Resident Commissioner in Washington.
“There is a process to request funds,” Commissioner Pierluisi said.
This week, an analysis from the Sunlight Foundation, which highlights the expenses of the offices of House members, said Pierluisi had the highest budget for 2010, with about $ 2.1 million.
The costs that stands out in the Sunlight report is the $ 173.000 in printed material (mainly fact sheets Pierluisi’s office inserted into publications for Puerto Rico) and the nearly $ 60,000 in travel, three times more than any other federal legislator of Puerto Rican origin.
“The trip includes spending on employees,” said Pierluisi, who also said that the cost of tickets to Puerto Rico is much higher than that of tickets that his colleagues can purchase.
Later in the article, Popular Democratic Party Chairman Héctor Ferrer criticized Pierluisi for his actions:
This is not the amount of money that is given. My question is: what is the benefit obtained by the people of Puerto Rico with the expenditure of that money? I have a budget that is a quarter that of Pierluisi’s and I represent the same number of voters.