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Pelosi Spent $18.5K On Flowers, Makeup

From The Hill:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., center, flanked by Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, left, and Rep. Vito Fossella, R-N.Y., talks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2007, after their meeting.

Pelosi buys $16K worth of flowers

By Mike Soraghan
December 12, 2007

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has spent $16,000 on flowers since taking office, one reason why she spent 63 percent more in her high-profile inaugural year than her low-key predecessor did last year.

Pelosi (D-Calif.) spent a little more than $3 million in the first nine months of 2007, records show, compared to the $1.8 million Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) spent during the same period in 2006…

“When Speaker Pelosi took the gavel, it was an historic moment. In the days since, the Speaker has hosted leaders from across the country and around the world — opening the People’s House to the people and discussing the work of the 110th Congress,” Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami said in response to e-mailed questions. “There are major new costs associated with setting up the new office of the new Speaker of the House.”

Republicans say Pelosi’s office spending undercuts her message that Democrats are restoring fiscal responsibility to the halls of Congress.

“They could have saved the taxpayer $16,000 by sending out an intern to pick flowers from the Capitol lawn, but I guess that would have detracted from the $4 million worth of pork they planted as part of the ‘greening’ project,” said Brian Kennedy, spokesman for Boehner…

Most of the $16,058 that Pelosi charged taxpayers for flowers, Elshami said, was for the visits of foreign dignitaries, such as Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Jordan’s King Abdullah.

“Many of the same dignitaries and international leaders hosted by the White House … are also hosted by Speaker Pelosi,” Elshami said. “This expense is associated largely with these occasions and other Congress-wide, bipartisan events”

While Hastert didn’t appear to spend any money on flowers last year, bouquets are not new to Pelosi’s office. She spent about $5,000 on flowers last year when she was minority leader

The increase from Hastert to Pelosi was driven largely by a surge in travel and a heavily fortified payroll.

Pelosi has more people working for her. Hastert employed 35 people during the third quarter of last year. Pelosi, by contrast, had 51 people on her payroll during the same time period.

As the first Democratic Speaker in 12 years, there was a responsibility to the American people and the Democratic Caucus to hit the ground running and to pass the New Direction agenda,” Elshami said. “To achieve this goal, more resources were needed, including the hiring of additional staff in policy and research areas, for example.”

Another factor in the disparity is travel. Hastert didn’t bill much official travel last year, spending only about $1,700, while Pelosi racked up many times that at nearly $60,000 — a figure that does not include her “congressional delegation” journeys to Europe and the Middle East. It does, however, include many visits to congressional districts.

“As the first woman Speaker of the House and first Democratic Speaker in 12 years, there continues to be a demand for her to travel across the country to appear in congressional districts with members, to meet with local press and editorial boards, and to meet with representatives of the private sector,” Elshami said…

The spending information is contained in thick books issued quarterly called the Statement of Disbursements of the House. Some call them “brown books” for their beige covers (Senate books are green). Others call them “bitch books,” because congressional staffers look up their counterparts’ salaries, then complain to their bosses if they’re paid less…

Other expenses in Pelosi’s office include:

•  A $10,000 contract to former Clinton White House speechwriter Heather Hurlburt to write the speech Pelosi delivered to the Israeli Knesset.

Nearly $20,000 to Washington attorney Richard Meltzer to help with Pelosi’s transition. “Just like a presidential transition, Richard Meltzer was hired to oversee the historic changeover of Congress,” Elshami said.

More than $2,400 to hire a makeup artist for the week of her swearing in. Pelosi later reimbursed the entire cost from her personal funds…

Remember, Ms. Pelosi claims to be fiscally responsible.

$2,400 for makeup?

Where is the outrage?

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, December 12th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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