FOX19 Investigates: Congress spending money on snacks & mail
Rep. Steve Chabot
House Speaker John Boehner
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -
An audit in Washington is coming to light showing how much
members of Congress are spending in their offices on everything from bottled
water to the salaries for their staff. FOX19 obtained a
copy of the audit, which runs more than 2000 pages.
The audit only covered members of the U.S. House and only
those who were in office last fall, which in FOX19's viewing area would be
Speaker John Boehner (R-West Chester) and Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Cincinnati). The
members of Congress for Northern Kentucky and the Lawrenceburg, Indiana, area
are new this year.
Coffee, bottled water, and snacks are popular on Capitol
Hill. Speaker Boehner spent $1147 on them in the last three months of 2012, while
Rep. Chabot spent $436.
"The Speaker's office provides refreshments like water,
snacks and coffee to visitors to the Capitol, whether they are foreign
dignitaries or constituents from Ohio," said Boehner spokeswoman Brittanny
A Chabot spokesman also pointed out that the food and
beverages they buy are not for their staff.
"Congressman Chabot's office limits food and beverage
purchases to meetings and events with constituents," said his spokesman, Brian
Members of Congress are also allowed to send mail to voters
at taxpayer expense. In the jargon of the Hill, they call this "franking."
Speaker Boehner, whose reelection was easy, spent less than $1400 on postage
between October and December 2012. But Rep. Chabot wasn't taking any chances.
He spent $30,380 on mailings.
The audit also shows the top salaries in their offices.
As speaker, Mr. Boehner makes $224,000 a year. His chief of
staff isn't doing too bad either. William Krieger II makes $163,196.
Rank-and-file members of Congress, like Rep. Chabot, get a
salary of $174,000. Chabot's chief of staff makes nearly as much. The audit
shows that Mark Wellman makes $140,000 a year.
Boehner's spokeswoman, Brittany Bramell, points out
Congressional offices are being hit by the sequester's automatic spending cuts,
though. "We planned ahead for the President's sequester," she said, "and have
made spending cuts in other areas."