The politician whose 12 jobs see her double her official salary

PROFILE: Isabel Carrasco Lorenzo

Isabel Carrasco Lorenzo presides the provincial authority of León, known as the Diputación. She also heads up the Culture Institute of León, and the Airport Authority of León, and the provincial branch of the Popular Party (PP)... And so on, and so on, for a total of 12 positions.

On paper, Carrasco Lorenzo is only paid a salary from the first job, because it requires exclusive dedication. Her income from that source is 79,800 euros a year before tax. But even though her aides insisted on this point, an analysis by EL PAÍS of official documents shows that by adding allowances and travel expenses, this politician, who has two decades' worth of experience as a public official, made more than 158,000 euros last year. This income is twice what the outgoing prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, made during the same period.

For instance, Carrasco Lorenzo received 62,150 euros last year from the savings bank Caja España, of which she is a board member. She made 19,037 euros for attending the lender's weekly meetings, which were held in León until October, and then in Salamanca following Caja España's merger with Caja Duero ? a move dictated by necessity, as with most other cash-strapped savings banks in Spain. Caja España also paid her 43,113 euros for showing up at monthly meetings with companies in which the lender has a stake.

Besides that source of revenue, last year Carrasco Lorenzo accepted 13,392 euros from the Culture Institute of León, an agency of the provincial authority ? which she also presides. Since last May, this multitasking professional has also been a councilor in the city of León, which will pay her 3,673 euros a year for dropping by the local plenary sessions.

Since 2008, the politician with 12 jobs has been paid nearly 200,000 euros for travel expenses and other allowances in connection with the meetings at Caja España and its investees Invergestión, Inmocaja, Viproelco and Tinsa, among others.

In 2008 and 2009, Carrasco Lorenzo charged Caja España 3,368 euros for road travel expenses, even though the trips were made in the official Diputación of León car at her disposal, chauffeur included, as four board members of the savings bank told this newspaper. All four also said that their colleague specifically asked for these amounts to be deposited directly in her account.

Last Wednesday, the Socialist Party in León filed a complaint against Carrasco Lorenzo for misappropriation of funds, holding that she unlawfully charged provincial coffers with the cost of 1,000 kilometers worth of road travel to fulfill her obligations with Caja España. The Socialist Matías Llorente holds that the PP chief in the province used the body's official vehicle, a dark-blue Audi A6 300TDI, on more than 40 occasions in order to travel outside León.

Isabel Carrasco Lorenzo refused to answer EL PAÍS' questions on this matter. "I neither confirm nor refute those figures. All the relevant information must be provided by the financial institution and the Diputación of León," she stated.

This is just the latest case to emerge involving political leaders who earn up to six-figure amounts between salaries and allowances. In Catalonia, a region that has made significant spending cuts on healthcare, it recently transpired that Jordi Portabella, a Barcelona councilor for Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, makes almost 127,000 euros between his salary and extra stipends, thanks to a variety of positions at public agencies.

The head of the Diputación of León, Isabel Carrasco.
The head of the Diputación of León, Isabel Carrasco.
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