A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll found 51 percent of Americans disapprove of the way their Congressional representative is “handling his or her job.”
One of the reasons Congress is held in low esteem by Americans is that far too many elected officials take advantage of the perks of their office and live large at the expense of taxpayers.
Our federal elected officials travel the world on so-called fact finding missions among numerous other perks.
Thanks to the Sunlight Foundation we can now examine Senate records to examine the expenses of Senate offices.
The Washington Free Beacon wrote about the costs of staff retreats by Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA).
According to Senate disbursement data, Landrieu took her then-staff of 52 to Annapolis for a “retreat” for three days in late March 2012. The trip cost $14,727.77 in per diems, $348 for transportation, and $565.60 for “staff incidentals,” a total of $15,641.37.
The staff stayed at the Loews Hotel, which features “luxurious suites decked out in nautical style,” and is described as the “ultimate in Chesapeake Bay lodging.” According to the records, staff also attended a training conference during the retreat, which cost $2,871.02 in registration fees.
In 2011, the office retreat was held in Washington, D.C., and New Orleans. Costs to stay at the International House, a hostel in Washington, beginning Feb. 22 totaled $20,124.80, including $18,720.32 for per diems, and $1,404.48 for transportation. Landrieu’s office also spent $2,368 to go to New Orleans on Feb. 24.
In total, Landrieu spent over $46,000 for staff retreats since 2011 with the total cost of her office running just over $8 million including salaries.
Unfortunately for taxpayers, Landrieu is working according to the American Express slogan, “membership has its privileges.”
Landrieu is facing a tough re-election race this year. Hopefully, the people of Louisiana will consider her spending habits when they go to the polls this November.