LegiStorm Infuriates High-Paid Government Officials

congress

LegiStorm is a sweet website that does wonders for government transparency. How? By making it easy to find congressional staffers’ salaries, bonuses, and other financial information. More from the Washington Post:

All this stuff is public information, mind you. But it used to be a pain to find: Hike up to Capitol Hill, descend into the bowels of a House office building and thumb through books filled with tiny type.

The site offers a trove to keep the snoopiest snoop occupied for hours — bank accounts, investment portfolios, trust funds, even information about spouses. Wondering why so-and-so cruises to work in a Beemer? Aha, that’s why: His wife’s a big-shot partner at a law firm. It’s all there in the reports.

Often, the site is one of the first things that pops up in a Google search of a staffer. It’s enough to make many of them — especially the most senior and highest-paid — supremely cranky. There was such a clamor over LegiStorm that Mississippi Republican Rep. Roger Wicker — who is now a senator — made a failed attempt to pass a bill that would remove congressional salaries from publicly disclosed reports.

“Having your salary bandied about the world is an intrusion that doesn’t serve a public purpose,” Wicker, who now earns the standard $174,000 congressional salary, said, according to the Associated Press.

I looked up Colorado’s senators, who each make $174,000. That looked reasonable enough, but the earmarks were a little more frightening. $1,000,000 for the Contextual Arabic Blog and Slang Analysis Program, for example.

Anyone else find exotic salaries, earmarks, travel, or other spending by representatives?

Written by Drea Knufken

Drea Knufken

Currently, I create and execute content- and PR strategies for clients, including thought leadership and messaging. I also ghostwrite and produce press releases, white papers, case studies and other collateral.