LAS VEGAS (AP) — Rep. Joe Heck’s wife collected unemployment benefits in 2011 after she lost her job with her husband’s company when he was elected to Congress, according to his latest financial disclosure forms.

Lisa Heck was a nurse who worked for Specialized Medical Operations, a medical training and consulting firm where her husband served as president.

But the company was dissolved after Heck was elected to Congress in 2010 and he concluded it presented a conflict because most of its business came through government contracts. Five people lost jobs as a result.

Democrats told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that Lisa Heck essentially should not have applied for benefits under the circumstances.

“Thousands of Nevadans are struggling to make ends meet, and Congressman Joe Heck is supplementing his $174,000 a year congressional salary and taxpayer-funded health care with unemployment benefits for his wife,” said Amber Moon, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

But Heck, R-Nev., who has mostly voted for extending federal jobless benefits, said in a statement that his wife was no different from many Americans who lost their jobs.

“After losing her job, Lisa Heck applied for and began receiving unemployment while she searched for work,” the statement says. “As a mother, the wife of an active Army Reservist and a congressional spouse, Mrs. Heck felt that it was in the best interest of the family to end her job search and remain at home. At that time, she stopped receiving unemployment.”

A Heck spokesman said the congressman would have no further comment on the matter. It was uncertain how long Lisa Heck received unemployment benefits.

The congressman, who was an emergency room doctor, reported a combined salary of $101,132 from his company and from the Emergency Medical Physicians Group, based in Roseville, Calif., in the year before he took office.

The unemployment benefits were first reported by Politico.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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