By James Wigderson for Media Trackers
It’s always good to be the candidate and the campaign treasurer for your own campaign. Just ask Paul Nehlen, the former Breitbart favorite running for Congress in the First Congressional District in the Republican Primary against House Speaker Paul Ryan.
According to the latest Federal Election Commission (FEC) filing, Nehlen’s campaign paid his wife Gabriela Lira $13,000 in the third quarter of last year, and reimbursed her additionally for expenses totaling $684.78. The $13,000 was split into eight transactions marked “staff payroll.” The payments began in July with the smallest amount being $1,000 and the largest amount being $3,000.
In response to an inquiry by Media Trackers, Nehlen defended the payments to his wife as a “meager stipend.”
“God blessed me with a wife who is strong in her faith, supportive of my efforts to Make America First Again, so I’m thankful for the Republicans who came before me passing laws to making it possible to make a meager stipend possible,” Nehlen wrote. “My donors are grateful they have an unwavering candidate who will fight for their interests, unlike Paul Ryan who got most of his campaign donations from inside the D.C. beltway, NYC, CHI, HOU, and L.A.”
Campaign figures for the fourth quarter of 2017 are not yet posted for Nehlen, so it is unknown if the payments continued.
Lira is the campaign’s “assistant treasurer,” according to the FEC filing, and the campaign’s designated agent. Nehlen, as campaign treasurer for his own campaign, signed the statement of organization report on December 28, 2017.
Prior to the change in December, Elizabeth Curtis was the campaign treasurer with Lira acting as the campaign’s designated agent. A previous filing in May also showed Paul Nehlen acting as his own campaign treasurer.
In the August 2016 GOP Primary in the First District, Nehlen lost to Ryan 84 percent to 16 percent. The campaign was notable for Nehlen’s call to ban all Muslims from the United States and his ties to “Scam PAC” operator Dan Backer. Despite the controversy, national conservative figures such as Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin campaign for Nehlen against Ryan, while the website Breitbart promoted his campaign.
The current campaign, however, has sunk even lower, with Nehlen making anti-Semitic comments, race-baiting by calling Ryan “Pablo,” and even telling a journalist to “eat a bullet.” The antics are too much for Breitbart this time and they have withdrawn their support for Nehlen’s candidacy.