New Hampshire Democrat Maggie Hassan has made the gender pay gap a centerpiece of her campaign, but women working for the Hassan administration earn just 80 cents for every dollar a male worker makes.
A Washington Free Beacon analysis of payroll data for the New Hampshire executive branch found that women had a median income of $40,788.26 in 2015, more than $10,000 less than the median male worker received that year.
Hassan has frequently criticized freshman Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte over the gender pay gap. She marked Equal Pay Day in April by saying that Ayotte would not "put the well-being of our women, children and families first."
"Women earn 79 cents on the dollar compared to what men earn for equal work," she said in the release. "It is long past time for Congress to finally pass the federal Paycheck Fairness Act, which would help ensure that women can earn equal pay for equal work."
Ayotte pays her female employees more than her male staff members, according to Senate payroll records. Full-time female workers earned a median pay of $36,813 compared to the $33,562 median salaries of male workers. Women who work for the GOP senator earn $1.10 for every dollar a male colleague works.
Neither the governor’s spokesman, nor her campaign returned request for comment.
Ayotte is not the first opponent that Hassan has attacked for the gender pay gap. In 2012 she attacked Republican gubernatorial nominee Ovide Lamontagne for lacking "empathy" because of the pay gap.
"What is even more disturbing is his lack of understanding of, and empathy for, the challenges facing women in the workplace," Hassan said. "The pay gap is a real issue."
Many sources have disputed the gender pay gap statistics that Hassan and other Democrats have used on the campaign trail. The 79-cent statistic is based on comparing the average earnings of male and female workers without any consideration of total hours worked, the nature of employment, and the stage of a workers career. Economists commissioned by the Department of Labor found that such considerations largely eliminated pay gap statistics.
"This study leads to the unambiguous conclusion that the differences in the compensation of men and women are the result of a multitude of factors and that the raw wage gap should not be used as the basis to justify corrective action. Indeed, there may be nothing to correct. The differences in raw wages may be almost entirely the result of the individual choices being made by both male and female workers," the 2009 study prepared by the CONSAD Research Corporation found.
The Washington Free Beacon analysis is not necessarily an apples-to-apples comparison. The U.S. Senate data allows users to examine employment periods that include start and end-dates, giving a more accurate picture of pay structure at the office. New Hampshire’s state data only provides raw salary totals without data of employment figures, meaning that employees who worked only part of the year are included in the data set. To make the best comparison, all staffers on Ayotte's payroll were also included as long as they worked part of the year.
The sex of those with androgynous names was independently verified using publicly available information.
The Ayotte campaign declined to comment.