No Equal Pay for Nancy

Pelosi ducks questions on Senate pay disparity while paying women on her staff less than men

May 31, 2012

UPDATE: Pelosi press secretary Drew Hammill claims the Free Beacon analysis is "misleading."

"Of the senior staff in the Office of the Democratic Leader, 13 are women and 10 are men," Hammill wrote in an e-mail. "All staff are paid according to their specific job responsibilities and seniority."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) refused to answer questions about Senate Democrats paying their female staff members less than male staffers on Thursday. She may have ducked the question because a Washington Free Beacon analysis shows she pays the women on her staff $26,606 less per year on average.

According to publicly available salary data at the website Legistorm, Pelosi’s female employees earned an average annual salary of $96,394 in fiscal year 2011. Male employees earned $123,000 on average, a difference of 27.6 percent.

The gap is even larger if calculated using the median salaries for men and women. For Pelosi’s female employees, the median annual salary was $93,320 in 2011, compared to $130,455 for male employees—a difference of $37,135, or 40 percent.

Pelosi’s entire staff—men and women—earned an average annual salary of $108,150 and a median salary of $114,662. By both measures, women made considerably less.

Only current full-time staff members in Pelosi’s personal office, the office of the minority leader, and others under her purview, who were employed for the entirety of fiscal year 2011, were considered in the analysis.

Democrats often cite a pay gap of 23 percent between the sexes; by any measure, Pelosi’s pay gap is much higher. The Democrats’ figure is based on a 2010 U.S. Census Bureau report, and is technically accurate.

However, as CNN’s Lisa Sylvester has reported, when factors such as area of employment, hours of work, and time in the workplace are taken into account, the gap shrinks to about 5 percent.

Democrats in Congress are pushing for a vote on legislation known as the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would facilitate the filing of large punitive damage claims in discrimination lawsuits. The Senate plans to vote on the legislation when they return from recess next week.

Daily Caller reporter Michelle Fields on Thursday asked Pelosi about the results of a Free Beacon analysis published last week, which found that Senate Democrats paid their female staffers about $6,500 less on average than male staffers.

Pelosi did not refute the findings, nor did she directly respond to the question. Instead, she cited her recent tenure as the first female Speaker of the House.

"You’ll have to go to the Senate side for that," Pelosi said. "When I was speaker, I was [the] highest paid person on Capitol Hill and the women took great joy in that."

"I can’t speak to what the Senate—needless to say, it’s another world," she added.

Published under: Congress , Nancy Pelosi