Sanchez Sisters Caught up in Payroll Scandal

May 19, 2009

Sanchez Sisters Caught up in Payroll Scandal

Both Offices Under Ethical Cloud as House Committee Investigates Actions


Washington – Reps. Linda and Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) are the latest members of the Democratic Party dealing with the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct in an emerging payroll scandal. The entire episode emerged when it was discovered that a staffer to Loretta Sanchez embezzled funds from the Congresswoman’s government account. As a result, Linda Sanchez began “sharing” some of her sister’s employees and placed them on her Congressional payroll, a violation of House rules.  

“While families in Southern California are pinching pennies to make ends meet, it’s insulting that the Sanchez sisters are being irresponsible with their use of taxpayer funds,” said NRCC Communications Director Ken Spain. “The Sanchez sisters scandal is just another example of the recklessness brewing under Nancy Pelosi and confirms the need to keep House Democrats accountable for their out of control spending and mismanagement.”



According to the Associated Press, the scandal began when the staffer used her government credit card for non-governmental purchases:

“A former executive assistant to California Rep. Loretta Sanchez has pleaded guilty to stealing from office funds. Caroline Valdez admitted in federal court Monday that she used Sanchez’s House credit card to buy airline tickets for herself and a family member and get pizza and groceries delivered.         

“The 27-year-old Arlington resident also admitted that she forged Sanchez’s signature to get $6,000 in bonus salary and inflated the cost of taxicab fare she actually paid to get greater reimbursement.

“Valdez said her theft totaled more than $5,000 during the two years she worked for the Democratic congresswoman.” (“Former Sanchez aide pleads guilty to theft,” Associated Press, 05/19/2009)

As a result of the theft, Rep. Linda Sanchez began putting her sister’s staff on her own payroll to make up for the money lost, a potential violation of House rules:

“The House ethics committee is reviewing whether the chamber’s rules were broken when Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.) put three of Rep. Loretta Sanchez’s (D-Calif.) aides on her own payroll in late 2006 because of a budget shortfall in her sister’s office…

“Stan Brand, an attorney for Loretta Sanchez, confirmed Monday that the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct was looking into the arrangement to temporarily shift staff between the two Sánchez offices…Under House rules, individual lawmakers are not allowed to use their Members’ Representational Allowance — the annual budget that provides for staff salaries, travel and office supplies — to pay aides to work in a House office other than their own.” (“Ethics Panel Eyes Sánchez Sisters,” Roll Call, 05/19/2009)