Transparency is good for democracy:
The House will begin posting representatives’ expense reports online, giving the public easy access to records of the millions of dollars lawmakers spend on staff and items such as catering, cars, computers and TVs.
Separately, Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) said Wednesday he would introduce a bill requiring the expense records be posted online in the Senate, as well. Such disclosures are ‘something that we will take a look at,’ said Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D., Nev.).
In a time of national belt-tightening, taxpayers may expect frugality from Capitol Hill, but not so, according to Congressional expense reports. High-ranking politicians of both parties increased their expenditures in the first three months of 2009, Jonathan Weisman reports.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) ordered the postings Wednesday. The move followed recent stories in The Wall Street Journal examining lawmakers’ office expenditures that are kept in voluminous paper records on Capitol Hill.
A spokesman for the speaker said her action wasn’t prompted by the articles, which found mostly routine spending on staff salaries, travel and office rent, as well as supplies, printing and mailing. The 2008 reports also showed taxpayer money spent on luxury car leases, big-screen TVs, pricey laptops known.
Sure, it had nothing to do with the articles. Power of the press, baby.