SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Puerto Rico's nonvoting congressional delegate was the biggest spender last year in the U.S. House of Representatives, a nonpartisan foundation says.
Pedro Pierluisi claimed $2.1 million in expenses, topping House Speaker Nancy Pelosi by $257,000, according to a report issued Monday by the Sunlight Foundation, which promotes government transparency.
The report said Pierluisi spent almost $1.2 million to pay his staff, nearly $174,000 on printing and reproduction, and more than $59,000 on travel.
Congressional representatives' expenses are picked up by U.S. taxpayers.
Dennise Perez, Pierluisi's spokeswoman, said Tuesday that the costs reflect that the Pierluisi represents nearly 4 million constituents in the U.S. territory, several times more than are found in any U.S. congressional district.
She also noted that air travel is the only option when Pierluisi visits the Caribbea island, about 1,550 miles (2,500 kilometers) from Washington.
Perez said about 2 million copies of Pierluisi's newsletter are printed and distributed at least three times a year, and it is the only means of written mass communication he uses.