Nearly half of the campaign expenditures made by Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez (Ill.) during the first quarter of 2017 went to his wife, according to Federal Election Commission filings.
Soraida Gutierrez, Rep. Gutierrez's wife, who was a registered lobbyist in the state of Illinois from 2003 to 2009, has been on the payroll of Gutierrez for Congress, the congressman's campaign committee, since 2010. She has been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars since first appearing on the payroll.
Soraida was paid $6,000 from Gutierrez for Congress on Feb. 6 for acting as the campaign's treasurer and for management and fundraising services. On Feb. 28, another $6,000 was paid to the congressman's wife.
The $12,000 in payments to Soraida account for nearly half of the campaign's $25,152.08 in expenditures during the first quarter, which runs from Jan. 1 to March 31. Rep. Gutierrez also reimbursed himself $531.02 for travel expenses and lodging that was "charged to the wrong account."
Soraida Gutierrez has pocketed $385,000 from her husband's campaign committee since 2010.
Soraida hauled in $44,000 in 2010 and was the top recipient of campaign cash. Mrs. Gutierrez was paid $93,000 during the 2012 cycle from the campaign's funds, again making her the biggest beneficiary of campaign funds. In 2014, Soraida's payments jumped to $110,000. Throughout the 2016 election cycle, Soraida's payments increased again as she was paid $125,856 from the campaign.
Rep. Gutierrez has also paid his daughters from his campaign funds in the past.
Gutierrez paid his daughter Omaira Gutierrez $4,270 between 2004 and 2009 for bookkeeping services. Jessica Gutierrez, another daughter of the congressman, received $600 in 2004 for a fundraising project.
Members of Congress have been allowed to place family members on their campaign payrolls since 2001 after the FEC had issued an advisory opinion at the request of Jesse Jackson Jr., the former Democratic congressman from Illinois.
After the commission had issued the opinion, Rep. Jackson Jr. made hundreds of thousands in payments to a firm owned by his wife. Jackson and his wife pleaded guilty in 2013 to personally using nearly $750,000 of his campaign's funds.
Rep. Guiterrez's office did not respond to inquiries on the payments by press time.