by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
House Democrats are currently outspending their Republican colleagues by a two-to-one margin on taxpayer-funded car leases despite being in the minority, according to recent expense reports published by the Clerk of the House of Representatives.
The ability to lease a car on the taxpayer’s tab is an optional perk available to members of the House, but not the Senate.
Democrats’ spending on leases totaled $65,669 compared to $29,994 for Republicans in the third quarter of 2017. Nineteen Republicans expensed their lease during this timeframe, compared to 34 Democrats.
The Washington Free Beacon analyzed data going back one year. Democrats outspent Republicans by more than 2 to 1 in the last two quarters, but the gap was smaller during the two quarters prior to that. However, the Democrats still outspent the GOP in each quarter. …
… Every so often, the issue of leasing cars crops up as a political question for lawmakers.
“Members are permitted to use their member’s representational allowance for any purpose that’s allowed under the House rules, which include leasing cars,” said Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste.
“However, there are many members that don’t spend all of their [allowance] money and give some of it back to the treasury. That would be very difficult to do for House Democrats based on the amount of money they’re spending on car leases.”