Posted at 11:32 AM on May 13, 2009
by Tom Scheck
A report by the DFL leaning blog, MN Progressive Project, is reporting that GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen paid his wife $10,000 in campaign contributions:
Representative Erik Paulsen from Minnesota's 3rd Congressional District used campaign funds to pay his wife nearly $10,000 according to FEC filings. According to the reports, Carolyn "Kelly" Paulsen received payments starting in late August 2008. The payments continued until early December 2008, well after the campaign had ended. The payments were made as payroll disbursements and one travel reimbursement of $728.37, indicating that Congressman Paulsen appears to have hired his wife to serve as a staff member on his campaign in addition to providing for travel expenses.
What the Congressman's wife did for approximately three months to earn nearly $10,000 in payments is unknown.
Paulsen's staff did not comment to the blog.
It should be noted that there's nothing illegal about paying a spouse with campaign contributions. Efforts to fobid the practice have failed. The Campaign for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has more here on spousal pay.
Update: Here's a vaguely worded statement from Paulsen's campaign:
Kelly Paulsen, spouse of Erik Paulsen, was employed as office manager with the campaign from approximately 8/15 until 12/15. During the transition period from 11/11 to 12/11, Kelly worked with additional campaign staff members to wind down remaining campaign operations. - Reid LeBeau, Committee Treasurer
The campaign did not respond to a request for an interview.
Thanks for the mention, Tom.
More info here: http://research.sunlightprojects.org/research/familybusiness/ -- the Sunlight Foundation has done some digging on similar situations around the country. As you correctly note, it's not illegal, but it certainly bears scrutiny.
Here's the Independence Party's take on this questionable and, I'd argue, unethical behavior: http://www.independenceminnesota.org/blog/posts/230-paulsens-unethical-activity
What is "vague" about the statement from Paulsen's campaign?
She had an office in the campaign headquarters in Eden Prairie.