Thursday, March 22, 2012

Three of Arizona's 8 House Members Singled Out In New "Family Affair" Ethics Report For Questionable Reimbursements, Earmarks; Reps. Flake, Pastor, Quayle

Three Arizona Congressmen were included in a new ethics report released today by the non-partisan Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington ("CREW") and database site LegiStorm. It singled out Rep. Ed Pastor (D-CD4) for his repeated earmarking to non-profit organizations at which family members are employed/involved, dinged Rep. Ben Quayle (R-CD3-running-for-new-CD6) for his campaign renting a facility from his father's company, and harangued Rep. Jeff Flake (CD6-running-for-Senate)for using campaign funds to reimburse himself (and his wife) for travel expenses.

The entire 347-page "Family Affair" report can be found here. It includes 248 members (out of approximately 435, depending on whether they included resigned members such as Gabrielle Giffords), some for seemingly-minor expenditures and some for serious offenses that have already prompted legal and/or ethics actions.

The section on Rep. Pastor sets out some of the earmarks items that have already been publicized by the Washington Post and others, and add a bit more. Pastor has earmarked $1.8 million to programs administered by Chicanos Por La Causa, where his wife had previously been on the Board of Directors, and his nephew had previously been (there might have been an overlap in 2008) employed.

ED PASTOR (D-AZ) is a ten-term member of Congress, representing Arizona’s 4th
congressional district.1 He is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, as well as chief
deputy whip.2
Rep. Pastor’s campaign committee, Pastor for Arizona,3 donated to a program affiliated with his
daughter and paid catering fees to a company that had employed his niece. In addition, Rep.
Pastor has earmarked to his family members’ employers.
Verma Mendez Pastor (wife) and Carlos Pastor (nephew):4
• Ms. Pastor was a member of the Board of Directors of Chicanos Por La Causa from 2005
until 2007.5 In addition, Mr. Pastor was the vice president of marketing for Chicanos Por
La Causa in 2008.6 In fiscal year 2008, Rep. Pastor earmarked $490,000 to Chicanos Por
La Causa.7
• In fiscal year 2009, Rep. Pastor earmarked $625,643 to Chicanos Por La Causa.8
• In fiscal year 2010, Rep. Pastor earmarked $700,000 to Chicanos Por La Causa.9

Laura Pastor (daughter):10
• Ms. Pastor has been the director of the Achieving a College Education (ACE) program at
South Mountain Community College in Arizona since 2005.11 An internal investigator
for the college found she was hired despite scoring lower on hiring evaluations than at
least one other candidate, though the investigation found her hiring did not violate any
regulations.12 The college approved two salary exceptions at the time of her hiring,
putting her at the top of the pay scale.13 Rep. Pastor steered over $1,000,000 in federal
grants to the program four months after his daughter was hired.14
• In fiscal year 2008, Rep. Pastor earmarked $984,000 to the ACE Program.15
• In fiscal year 2009, Rep. Pastor earmarked $951,500 to the ACE Program.16
• In fiscal year 2010, Rep. Pastor earmarked $1,000,000 to the ACE Program.17
• Ms. Pastor participated in the class of 2010 Emerge America Arizona program, dedicated
to developing and electing women leaders.18 During the 2008 election cycle, Rep.
Pastor’s campaign committee gave a $500 donation to Emerge Arizona.19
Sonya Pastor La Sota (niece):20
• Ms. Pastor La Sota was a senior government relations representative for Salt River
Project from 2008 to 2009.21 During the 2010 election cycle, Rep. Pastor’s campaign
committee paid Salt River Project $537 for catering.22
Rep. Pastor defended the ACE earmarks in the Washington Post article:

“The perception is that you helped your daughter, but if you evaluate the kids who benefited from this, it was worth doing,” the congressman said. “I believe thousands of kids have a better life today because of this program.”
. . .
“She was never my motivation,” Pastor said. “I wasn’t aware she was applying. If I knew, I would have contacted the chancellor and said, ‘What kind of position does this put you and me in?’ ”

Rep. Pastor has been asked for a response to this report.

* * *

Rep. Flake has already been sniped at by his primary opponent for publicly-paid trips he's taken as a member of Congress. This new report notes that Mr. and Ms. Flake have received nearly $21,000 in campaign committee monies to reimburse them for travel expenditures.

JEFF FLAKE (R-AZ) is a six-term member of Congress, representing Arizona’s 6th
congressional district.1 He is a member of House Appropriations Committee.2
Rep. Flake’s campaign committee, Jeff Flake for Congress,3 reimbursed the congressman and his
Jeff Flake (self):
• During the 2008 election cycle, Rep. Flake’s campaign committee reimbursed Rep. Flake
$3,719 for travel and other expenses.4
• During the 2010 election cycle, Rep. Flake’s campaign committee reimbursed Rep. Flake
$14,714 for travel, meals, and other expenses.5
Cheryl Flake (wife):6
• During the 2008 election cycle, Rep. Flake’s campaign committee reimbursed Ms. Flake
$2,487 for airfare, travel, and event expenses.7

Such reimbursements are legally and ethically questionable under FEC (Federal Elections Commission) and House Ethics rules and regulations. The House Ethics Manual repeatedly warns members to be careful when reimbursing themselves or family members for travel. Finally, it notes that even "mixed use" trips - where there is both a personal and a campaign purpose - may be violative unless there is a reimbursement from the member to the campaign committee for the portion allocated to personal use.
The regulations also address two ―mixed use

Campaign-funded that includes both campaign-related activities and
personal activities; and
Use of a for personal purposes in an amount that is more
than de minimis.
In both of those situations, the person(s) benefiting from the personal use
must reimburse the campaign in an appropriate amount within 30 days.
Arizona's Politics has asked the Flake campaign whether there was such a reimbursement.

* * *

Finally, the report points out that Rep. Quayle's campaign committee paid $250 to a company of which his father (former Vice President) is chairman of a subsidiary. (Classifying this as a de minimis note, Arizona's Politics is not requesting a response.)

BEN QUAYLE (R-AZ) is a first-term member of Congress, representing Arizona’s 3rd
congressional district.1 He is the chairman of the Technology and Innovation Subcommittee of
the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, as well as the vice chair of both the
Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet Subcommittee of the House Judiciary
Committee and the Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee of the House Homeland
Security Committee.2
Rep. Quayle’s campaign committee, Quayle for Congress,3 paid a company affiliated with his
J. Danforth “Dan” Quayle (father):4
• Former Vice President Quayle is now the chairman of Cerberus Global Investments,
LLC, which is part of Cerberus Capital Management.5 During the 2010 election cycle,
Rep. Quayle’s campaign committee paid $250 to Cerberus Capital Management for
facility rental and staffing services.6

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