Your Money In D.C. - New York News

Your Money In D.C.

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Trenton, New Jersey (My9NJ) -

A blog on NJ Spolight about the unbelievable amounts of money spent in Washington by the senate and house members has brought to light what our money is really being spent on. Two additional websites, SunlightFoundation.com and the report of the Secretary of the Senate on Senate.gov, have also made public how congressmen spend their money in D.C.

Colleen O’Dea of NJ Spolight wrote the blog, and found that 13 house members from New Jersey spent $15 million over the past year. New Jersey’s two senators, the late Frank Lautenberg and Bob Menendez spent over $6 million just last year.

O’Dea reveals what costs taxpayers the most money. “Salaries really are the biggest portion, as you might expect. The highest paid folks are making between 160 and 170 thousand dollars.” She said. Even though these high numbers are really just for chiefs of staff, there are a lot of other people on staff that costs taxpayers’ money.

Aside from salaries, there are also high amounts of money going living expenses and travel. “One district office is spending almost one thousand dollars a month on parking, in addition to about six thousand dollars a month in rent.” O’Dea said.

With all this money being spent, it raises the question of whether it’s a matter of being excessive or simply what’s needed. “It is part of what Congress has and what the law says they need to essentially represent folks.” O’Dea said.

Members of Congress have the privilege to send free mail, which is called frank privileges. O’Dea says that some money does go to these privileges. “Yeah, they all use franking privileges. That’s not a surprise. There is a prohibition, technically, that they are not supposed to use this within 90 days of an election. But certainly 91 days out.” She said.

O’Dea says that all of this spending is just the cost of running a full time government, not just a waste of money by politicians. “I think what our purpose was for putting it out there was to let the folks decide, let the tax payers who are paying the bill decide.” She said.

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