state Senator Joe Zarelli collected unemployment checks for months
while drawing his legislative salary and expenses, according to
published reports. The state now is demanding he return the jobless
a seven-year veteran of the Legislature and vice chairman of the
Senate Republican caucus, is a congressional candidate in Southwestern
Washington's 3rd District. Zarelli, who was paid $32,801 in the
past year as a legislator, hasn't said how much he collected in
unemployment benefits or how much he plans to pay back.
say, however, he received benefits for 10 months after he was
laid off from his full-time job as a regional manager for Oakland,
CA-based Ipsa International and that the Department of Employment
Security knew he was serving as a legislator during that time.
He entered the congressional race in May while receiving unemployment.
to his salary, Zarelli receives $82 a day for expenses when the
Legislature is in session or for committee work, plus office and
telephone allowances, health care coverage and pension contributions.
reportedly did not list the unemployment checks on his annual
personal financial affairs statement for last year.
he hopes voters will be understanding, acknowledging the pain
of being thrown out of work and trying to pay family bills. A
legislator's pay is inadequate to support a family, he said.