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?