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Claim: Nancy Pelosi used her position on the Appropriations Committee to give her husband a USPS property contract
Both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and the U.S. Postal Service have made headlines this year, but a number of Facebook posts suggest the two may have a more insidious connection.
The claim states the speaker's husband, Paul Pelosi, owns a San Francisco-based investment firm called Financial Leasing Services LLC and that his net worth is $120 million. It then says Nancy Pelosi sits on the House Appropriations Committee, which appropriates funds to the USPS among other groups.
“Why is this important?” the post asks. “Easy. She passed a bill to sell off 9 billion dollars (yes billion) worth of Federally owned post office property and awarded the contract to none other than Financial Leasing Services LLC. Her husband’s firm.”
The post goes on to say that the commission rate was set at 9%, meaning the alleged deal would land her husband a $1 billion contract.
It also accuses Nancy Pelosi of breaking down the $25 billion that Democrats suggested for the Postal Service in the next stimulus package to give just $1.25 billion toward “making sure voting ballots are legit,” supposedly meaning the other $23.5 billion would go toward “upgrading the ‘facilities’ so they are more attractive to potential buyers for her husband’s firm.”
“How the hell is this not corrupt!!!” the post’s author wrote. “She needs to go and I mean to jail!!”
The Facebook user who made the post did not respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment.
Pelosi isn’t on Appropriations Committee, bill doesn’t exist
It’s true that Paul Pelosi owns and operates San Francisco-based Financial Leasing Services, according to the California Secretary of State’s business search. Everything beyond that is false or misleading.
The House speaker traditionally has no formal committee assignments, according to a Congressional Research Service report. That holds true for Pelosi, who is not assigned to any committees, according to the U.S. House of Representatives’ clerk. The House Committee on Appropriations website confirms that.
Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, told USA TODAY in an email that the Facebook post’s allegations are “completely false.”
The alleged bill addressed in the Facebook post – which purportedly sells off $9 billion of federal post office property – does not exist. A search of “Financial Leasing Services” in Congress’ Legislation database and its Congressional Record database returned no results.
While it’s true that Democrats proposed providing the Postal Service with $25 billion in funding, it’s unlikely that bill will be made law, as Senate Republicans and President Donald Trump, who both must ultimately sign off on it, have been vocal critics.
"I don't think we’ll pass, in the Senate, a postal-only bill," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told the Louisville Courier-Journal on Aug. 18.
“Representatives of the Post Office have repeatedly stated that they DO NOT NEED MONEY, and will not make changes,” Trump tweeted Aug. 22. “This is all another HOAX by the Democrats to give 25 Billion unneeded dollars for political purposes, without talking about the Universal Mail-In Ballot Scam....”
There’s also no mention in that bill of the funding breakdown the post alleges, that $1.25 billion will go to mail-in ballot security and the rest to upgrading USPS facilities. The legislation does say $15 million of the $25 billion will be transferred to the USPS Office of Inspector General.
Post closely resembles partly false claim against Sen. Dianne Feinstein
If the claim sounds familiar, you may have seen it before — but insinuating another lawmaker's husband got a sweetheart deal due to his wife’s political position.
In June, USA TODAY fact checked a resurfaced 2013 claim accusing Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., of using her authority in the Senate to help her husband, Richard Blum of CRI, secure a real estate contract to sell off USPS buildings.
USA TODAY found that the company Feinstein’s husband worked for at the time did secure a contract with USPS to sell post office buildings. But the Facebook claim got the name of the company and the amount of money exchanged wrong. It also backed up the claim in a misleading way, using two fact checks as evidence which, upon reading further, don’t prove the claim’s veracity. There’s also no evidence Feinstein played a part in securing the contract for her husband.
While the claim about Feinstein is just partly false, the claim against Pelosi has no basis in fact.
Our rating: False
We rate the claim that Nancy Pelosi used her position on the House Appropriations Committee to get her husband a USPS property contract as FALSE because it was not supported by our research. Pelosi does not sit on the Appropriations Committee and the bill by which the post alleges she awarded her husband the contract does not exist. There is also no evidence that the $25 billion House Democrats want to allocate to the Postal Service would be broken up the way the post asserts.
Our fact check sources:
California Secretary of State, Dec. 18, 2019, Business Entities Filing Document for Financial Leasing Services, Inc.
California Secretary of State, Business Search
Congressional Research Service, Nov. 5, 2018, Party Leaders in the House: Election, Duties, and Responsibilities
U.S. House of Representatives' clerk, Nancy Pelosi
House Committee on Appropriations, Membership
Email from Drew Hammill, Nancy Pelosi's deputy chief of staff
Congress' Legislation database, Search "Financial Leasing Services"
Congress' Congressional Records database, Search "Financial Leasing Services"
Louisville Courier-Journal, Aug. 18, Mitch McConnell: US House's Postal Service bill may be negotiating opportunity
President Donald Trump's Twitter, Aug. 22
Check Your Fact, Sept. 4, FACT CHECK: DID NANCY PELOSI PASS A BILL AWARDING A $9 BILLION CONTRACT TO HER HUSBAND’S COMPANY?
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Nancy Pelosi didn't secure USPS contract for her husband