Congratulations! You bought a congressman a Lexus!

PORK%20SPENDING

 

Have you ever wondered how your tax dollars are being spent?  While you’re cutting back on every expense to find a way to save for retirement, pay for your children’s education, and put food on the table, you’ll be happy to know that some people are still living large: United States congressmen are livin’ it up on the expense account.

The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) dug through the volumes of expenses charged to the taxpayer-funded accounts of United States congressman. A couple of highlights:

Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings spent $24,730 in taxpayer money last year to lease a 2008 luxury Lexus hybrid sedan.

Ohio Rep. Michael Turner expensed a $1,435 digital camera.

Eni Faleomavaega, the House delegate from American Samoa, bought two 46-inch Sony TVs.

Rep. Howard Berman expensed $84,000 worth of personalized calendars, printed by the U.S. Capitol Historical Society, for his constituents.

Travel is another big cost center, with many lawmakers claiming funds for commercial air or train travel to and from their district, and for mileage on their cars or personal planes while they are there.

Around 100 lawmakers lease cars using their official allowances. The majority lease American cars. Sport-utility vehicles, such as Ford Escapes and Chevy Tahoes, are among the most popular choices.

Rep. Rodney Alexander of Louisiana paid $20,000 for a 2009 lease on a Toyota Highlander, a hybrid SUV.

Rahm Emanuel, who resigned from his Illinois congressional seat in January to become President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, recorded a $33,000 printing expense in the fourth quarter. An aide to Mr. Emanuel said it was for an official mailing sent to every household in his district.

Rep. William Jefferson, a Louisiana Democrat, spent $2,793 on a Panasonic Toughbook laptop, which is marketed to the military, in September, about three months before he lost his re-election bid in a December runoff.

Rep. Tim Mahoney, a Florida Democrat, include an $11,000 payment on his House-issued credit card to cover airfare for him and an aide incurred in September, with the line “A/F Mahoney/Mitchell.”

If lawmakers don’t seek reimbursement for all of their allowance money for the year, the remainder doesn’t roll over to the next year, but stays with the Treasury.  Treasury?  I guess nobody wants their money to end up in the hands of tax cheat Tim Geithner!

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


%d bloggers like this: