City Desk

Unpaid Hill Intern Turns to Indiegogo to Cover Expenses


Some unpaid interns have used the court system to challenge the legality of their nonexistent wages. Others have successfully pleaded their cases for pay in letters-to-the-editor pages.

But one young Hill intern coming to D.C. next week has a simpler approach: crowd-sourced funding.

Las Vegas native Jessica Padron, 20, launched an Indiegogo fundraising campaign so she could accept her dream unpaid internship in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office.

Padron is hoping to raise $6,500 by Aug. 25 to cover her living expenses in the nation’s capital for four months, including housing, food, and miscellaneous expenses. She estimates that she’ll need $4,200 for “modest” intern housing. (Housing in D.C., she wrote, “has reached and surpassed levels of New York.”)

The campaign has raked in $2,775 so far, and patrons wishing to donate $100 or more will receive free admittance to Padron’s “Going Away Party Extravaganza,” which will be catered by a chef who has donated his expertise for the occasion. No one has claimed this perk yet.

Padron, a University of Nevada-Las Vegas student and the first person in her family to attend university, told City Desk she did not want to do any more media interviews, but previously spoke to the Las Vegas Sun about her political aspirations, saying she wants to “see more diversity in politics.”

Reid’s office has not yet returned a call for comment, but it’s safe to assume Padron's new boss will rally behind her efforts: The Nevada Democrat as been a proponent of raising the minimum wage in the past.

Congress photo by Shutterstock

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  • Patrick

    If Reid is concerned about raising minimum wage, he should give PAID INTERNSHIPS a try. How about we quit it with this free labor loophole so many in Congress, as well as big name companies, are doing.

  • Typical DC BS

    Harry Reid "concerned" with this intern's travails? Please, the only ones he's concerned about are his relatives, who are ALL employed through his patronage efforts here in DC and back in Nevada. Reid is an old school Democratic patronage machine.

    Let's see how serious Jessica is about croud-sourced funding. Will be interesting to see what she's willing to do in exchange for her fundraising.

  • Amy

    I'm all for paying interns - interns who are smart enough to do their research on how much rent costs in this city. It's not cheap, but should could easily find a room to sublet for $700-800 a month. You don't need a whole one bedroom apartment or studio for a a four month internship.

  • Jes’ sayin

    She has her hand out, asking for money. All politicians have their hands out, asking for money. So how does her coming here contribute to more diversity in politics?

  • Alan

    LOL she wants $1050 a month for intern housing? Yeah it doesn't look good to get greedy when you're begging for handouts.

  • Scoot

    (Housing in D.C., she wrote, “has reached and surpassed levels of New York.”)

    Number 1, "reached and surpassed" is redundant.

    Number 2, no it hasn't. The average rent for a space in New York City is consistently about $1000 per month higher than for the same space in DC. In multiple parts of Manhattan the difference is much greater than that.

    But good for her for being "industrious" in accepting a handout. She has future politician written all over.