This artists rendering depicts the new federal building in San Francisco that now houses the offices of Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The building is an award-winning green design that saves on energy costs and is centrally located, according to Pelosis spokesman.
Last fall, Speaker Nancy Pelosi moved her district office into the new federal building in San Francisco. The move quadrupled the rent she pays, and her new $18,736 monthly bill is almost double the next-highest rental paid by a Member of the House.
A database assembled by the Sunlight Foundation in cooperation with Roll Call provides new insight into Congressional spending on district office rents. Not surprisingly, Members from large urban districts with the highest property values are paying the most for district office rental, particularly New Yorkarea Members.
But even in these high-rent districts, Pelosis new digs blow away the competition.
The next highest monthly office rent belongs to Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D), who occupies an office in a federal building in Manhattans trendy SoHo neighborhood for just under $10,600. Rep. José Serrano (D) paid $10,350 a month last year for an office in the Bronx, but he recently moved into a new building where the first months rent was only $9,583, his spokesman said Friday.
Democratic Reps. Doris Matsui (Sacramento), Stephen Lynch (Boston) and Diane Watson (Los Angeles) all pay $9,000 to $10,000 a month for district offices.
Pelosis spokesman said the high price of the Speakers new office is partly due to her need for additional space she had been in her prior office for more than 20 years and new security needs that go along with being the Speaker of the House.
San Francisco is one of the most densely populated cities in the country and, of course, office space rents are some of the highest, on average, in the country, said Drew Hammill, Pelosis press secretary.
After being based in the Burton Federal Building for over 20 years, we were no longer able to meet the needs of San Franciscans in the existing space. The new office space is 3,075 square feet, nearly a third larger than the old space, which was of inadequate size. Additionally, the new building is more centrally located, right off of Market Street, which allows for easier access for constituents via public transportation, Hammill said. Pelosis old office was about a half mile away, near San Franciscos city hall.
Hammill added: As Speaker, the security needs are different. The new San Francisco Federal Building offers enhanced security features, which were a major factor in the decision to move offices.
The new federal building is also an award-winning green design, consuming less than half the power of a standard office tower, saving taxpayer funds on utility costs, Hammill said.
Clearly, serving as Speaker carries additional costs. In 2006, when Republican Rep. Dennis Hastert was still Speaker of the House, he paid $4,300 a month for a district office in the little northern Illinois town of Dixon, while Republican Rep. Don Manzullo was paying $2,600 for an office in Rockford a much larger city about 50 miles away and closer to Chicago and $2,200 for a second office in Crystal Lake, which is essentially a Chicago suburb. Manzullo has since moved to a smaller, cheaper office in Crystal Lake. Hasterts two other district offices, combined, cost less than $1,000 a month.
Roll Call has launched a new feature, Hill Navigator, to advise congressional staffers and would-be staffers on how to manage workplace issues on Capitol Hill. Please send us your questions anything from office etiquette, to handling awkward moments, to what happens when the work life gets too personal. Submissions will be treated anonymously.