The Palmetto Insider

The blog of the South Carolina Policy Council

Clyburn Sweet on Donuts; Inglis Big on Bottled Water

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Donuts, bottled water and laundry are just a few of the items U.S. House members from South Carolina spent taxpayer dollars on last quarter.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn expended more than $400 on laundry services and another $250 at a Virginia donut shop between the beginning of July and the end of September.

Also during the three-month period, Rep. Bob Inglis rang up $635 on bottled water and Rep. Joe Wilson paid out more than $14,000 for technology-related services.

These expenditures – culled from thousands of line items released by the Chief Administrative Officer of the House – represent a small portion of the $300 million spent last quarter by House offices.

But while most congressional office spending goes to salaries and routine office expenses, some items offer a window into the priorities of each congressional office, according to a report by Politico.com.

The line-by-line expenditures used to come only in bound green books, but at the request of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi the reports were also put online this quarter for the first time. Nearly 3,400 digitized pages were released last week.

Politico.com reported that lawmakers appear to have great flexibility on what qualifies as an office expense. Money is spent on everything from security services for district offices to thousands in mileage reimbursements for individuals’ cars, with taxpayers even footing the bill for leasing cars for some members, the publication reported.

Highlights from the S.C. congressional delegation:

  • James Clyburn (D-Columbia), the House majority whip, spent a total of $18,004.95 on food and beverages during the quarter. By comparison, House minority whip Eric Cantor of Virginia spent nearly $23,000 on food and beverages during the same period. Clyburn listed expenses of $400,818.49 as majority whip and another $323,726.37 as a South Carolina representative.
  • Bob Inglis (R-Greenville) listed $24,342.94 under travel, compared to $13,689.70 for Wilson, $11,065.81 for Rep. Henry Brown and $10,024.66 for Rep. John Spratt. Inglis’ total expenses for the quarter were $382,073.34.
  • John Spratt (D-York) had the highest personnel costs of the six S.C. representatives at $265,657.42. Clyburn was next at $252,766.61 while Rep. Gresham Barrett spent the least on personnel during the three months at $188,036.93. In all, Spratt listed $321,777.72 in total expenses during the quarter.
  • Joe Wilson (R-Lexington) listed $7,400 on web hosting and development. By comparison, Inglis spent $11,248 in that area; Barrett, $2,550; and Clyburn, $1,750. Brown and Spratt, meanwhile, reported having spent no money on web hosting and development. Wilson’s total expenditures for the period between July 1 and Sept. 30 were $306,093.24.
  • Henry Brown (R-Hanahan) listed $14,400 in publications and reference material costs while Barrett’s outlay for the same was $282.73 and Inglis’ $49.95. Brown’s total expenses were $273,771.79.
  • Gresham Barrett (R-Westminster) proved the most frugal of the S.C. delegation, ringing up $246,352.42 in total expenses during the three-month period. Included was $20,242.79 in travel costs during the quarter and nearly $1,600 in lodging costs.

In all, the six U.S. House members from South Carolina listed more than $2.3 million in expenses during the three-month period.

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Written by Cotton Boll Conspiracy

December 8, 2009 at 2:22 pm

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