Congress At The Trough
I've racked up some restaurant bills, but nothing like the average bill of $1,971 our elected representatives do.
From the October 1, 2005 edition of the Washington Post:
"Ever wonder where your campaign donations went?$10,500 in one visit? I wonder how large the entourage was. His Bloatedness doesn't need to pack on any more pounds, so I hope he had the low cal/low fat platter and kept in mind that, according to Diet Center and Weight Watchers, alcohol provides empty calories.
"Bloomberg News offered up this little bonbon yesterday: Members of Congress have racked up average tabs of at least $1,000 in local restaurants within the past 2 1/2 years, PAC and campaign filings show.
"At high-end steak joint Sam & Harry's, politicians had an average bill of $1,971 in 80 visits. Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) spent $10,500 there one night with his entourage. Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) has spent $50,000 there in 2 1/2 years. That's a lot of beef!"
"Lawmakers dropped an average of $1,140 in 157 visits to the Caucus Room and $1,303 in 160 trips to Charlie Palmer Steak. The Caucus Room's general manager, Ed D'Alessandro, said about 20 percent of his business comes from members of Congress and added, 'Without Congress, we'd have to downsize.'I suppose that politicians do burn a lot of calories with all the hot wind they expel on the floor of Congress and in front of the television cameras. Our elected representatives must keep up their energy levels!
"Overall, members of Congress spent $1.5 million from early 2003 through June 2005 at 10 restaurants: Caucus Room ($292,114), Charlie Palmer Steak ($208,492), Sam & Harry's ($157,719), Bistro Bis ($157,029), La Colline ($147,189), Monocle ($143,731), Signatures ($130,598), Capital Grille ($122,167), Oceanaire ($88,806) and the now-closed La Brasserie ($56,982)."
Did this money-for-gourmet-food come from campaign donations? Are these fellows charging their restaurant bills to taxpayer-funded expense accounts?
If our elected representatives can afford such extravagance out of their own pockets, they can also afford a cut in salary.