Wednesday, June 8, 2011
When John Boehner became House Speaker in January, austerity was the theme of his ascendancy. But only six months into his new job, Boehner not only expanded his staff and his paycheck, he more than doubled the expense-account check he receives each month.
As Minority Leader, the Ohio Republican had received a direct payment of $833 each month from the American taxpayers to cover his “official expenses.”
But now, Boehner receives a monthly $2,083.33 direct payment for expenses, according to the most recent expenditure reports from the Clerk of the House. Because the total of the expense payment is the same each month, it is apparently not reimbursement for individual itemized expenses.
While Congress has set aside $235,000 a year to cover the expenses of House and Senate leaders, Boehner now appears to be the only Member of the House accepting this money in direct payments each month.
The boost in Boehner’s expense account is in addition to the $30,000 increase in the base pay that he began to collect in January after becoming Speaker. According to the Congressional Research Service, the Minority Leader’s salary was $193,400 last year but his Speaker salary is now $223,500.
Between his pay and his expenses increases, Boehner saw his annual checks jump from $203,400 to $248,500 in January, an increase of about 22 percent.
Back in January, Boehner pledged to fly commercial and said “The American people want a smaller, more accountable government. And starting Wednesday, the House of Representatives will be the American people’s outpost in Washington, D.C..”
All of which begs the question? As House Speaker, what could Boehner possibly be using this taxpayer money for? Imported cigarettes? A better grade of bourbon?
Or maybe hush money for his former mistresses, former Washington lobbyist Lisbeth Lyons and former press secretary Leigh LaMora?