US Taxpayers, Too, Billed for Lawmakers' Cars, Cameras
Taxpayer groups criticize Congress for making expense info hard to get hold of
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 30, 2009 8:34 AM CDT
The Senate and House release regular statements detailing what lawmakers have been reimbursed with taxpayer money for, but the information is not available online.   (Shutter Stock)
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(Newser) – No moat-cleaning, but there were cameras, TVs, and fancy cars among the expenses members of Congress have charged to taxpayers recently, a Wall Street Journal investigation inspired by the British expenses scandal finds. House members are given up to $1.9 million a year and senators get up to $4.5 million to spend on job-related expenses, but, the Journal reports, the accounting is often opaque.

American lawmakers, unlike the Brits, can't claim living expenses, but they are allowed plenty of discretion in how they spend their allowances. Some—including Pennsylania's Rep. Chaka Fattah, who put a $22 cell phone holder on expenses—detail small purchases, while others offer few explanations. The House and Senate offer hefty volumes detailing the spending, but despite calls from taxpayer groups, there are no plans to make the information available online.