The latest pork for Congress: $623 popcorn machines, plasma TVs, and more $823 for ioinic air fresheners
Reps. David Dreier (R—Calif.), Mark Souder (R—Ind.) and John Murtha (D—Pa.) spent more than $5,700 each on plasma—screen televisions. Rep. Jim Cooper (D—Tenn.) decided his office could use a $623 popcorn machine, while Rep. Devin Nunes (R—Calif.) shelled out $823 for an ionic air freshener and Rep. Clay Shaw (R—Fla.) paid $444 for TiVo.
Each lawmaker is given an average of $1.2 million a year for his or her member representational account (MRAs), which pays the salaries of 18 full—time aides, travel, mass mailings, leased cars, bottled water, coffee and everything else a modern office needs.
The Hill searched statement—of—disbursement records from the last quarter of 2004 and the first quarter of 2005 for every member and found that lawmakers spent thousands of dollars upgrading everything from televisions to furniture to websites.
A member's overall budget varies based on the distance between his district and Washington and the rate at which the General Services Administration (GSA) charges for leasing office space, according to a document provided by the House Administration Committee. The Rand McNally Standard Highway Mileage Guide is used to determine distances from Washington.
Dreier, in addition to buying a $5,763 plasma—screen TV, spent $1,338 on new rugs to mitigate the noise created by traffic on the marble and tile foyers in his Cannon Building and district offices, according to spokeswoman Jo Maney.
Submitted by the ghost of William Proxmire 11 08 05