Sunday, December 13, 2009

Congressional Reading Material

Just before Thanksgiving I was in DC for a few days and someone gave me the July - September Statement of Disbursements of the House, which is a 3 volume list of what various congressional representatives spent and on what during that quarter.

One item of particular interest to me is the category for publications -- what the congressional offices bought as far as reading material goes. As you can imagine a lot of local newspapers are listed. Patrick Murphy gets the Bucks County papers, Allyson Schwartz buys the Philadelphia papers, as well as things like the Times Chronicle, Montgomery Life, and so on. Bill Shuster lists 9 titles as well as reimbursements to staff for publications -- presumably they pick up copies in the way to work or pay out of pocket. A number of other representatives reimburse staff for publications in what seem like reasonable amounts. You also see subscription services listed so it is hard to tell what exact titles are being purchased.

Some interesting tidbits:

Patrick Murphy and Joe Sestak get the Economist.
Chaka Fattah paid nearly $6000 to the PR Newswire in this quarter. That seems like a lot but there is probably a good reason for it.
Paul Kanjorski spent over $700 at something called the Anthracite Newstand.
While a number of PA congressional representatives get the Washington Post, Bill Shuster gets the Washington Times. He may get the Post also -- there are staff reimbursements, too.

There were some other interesting points in the document and I'll try to revisit it before the information is obsolete.

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