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Richard Rider

Is Qualcomm’s $400K salary to Nathan Fletcher even legal?

Short answer to the question above — probably legal, BUT . . . .

Turns out that the Qualcomm job that Nathan Fletcher landed after his run for mayor in 2012 reportedly pays an absurdly high amount — $400,000 a year. That would provide a comfortable monthly cash flow ($33,333.33 gross/month) while Fletcher was waiting to (formally) run again for mayor of San Diego.

Fletcher’s job at Qualcomm? Reputedly he was paid to hobnob for the company, “sit on boards” and to give a couple “Rah-rah Qualcomm” speeches — and arguably to informally run for mayor.

His experience for this Qualcomm job? Essentially nonexistent. And apparently he seldom showed up at work, though this aspect is contested (see the story below).

One aspect that most are forgetting is the tax angle. If you contribute money to a candidate, it’s not tax deductible (unless you are a labor union member and itemize — it’s technically not legal to deduct union dues used for politics, but most do it). Also, a “donor” is usually severely limited as to the amount they can give to a candidate.

But if you “hire” an “employee” and pay quadruple the wage that he would gladly have “worked” for, then you still have a “legitimate,” deductible business expense — a.k.a. a tax deductible political contribution. Does anyone doubt that, if elected, Nathan Fletcher will carry out the agenda “suggested” by Jacobs? (Boy, that explanation required a LOT of quotation marks!)

Here’s my favorite excerpt from the story: Nathan Fletcher “is working out how to take a leave of absence with reduced pay and reduced responsibilities while he campaigns for mayor.”

“REDUCED responsibilities”? How is that even POSSIBLE??

But it gets better. If you run a public company, you can make such contributions with shareholder assets — in essence personally coughing up only a small fraction of the total dollars unwisely spent putting Fletcher on the payroll. Life is good if you are Irwin Jacobs!