- The Washington Times - Monday, December 14, 2009

A new report shows that lean economic times didn’t stop members of Congress from splurging taxpayer dollars on food and drink, including a $6,090 meal tab racked up in a single day by Guam Delegate Madeleine Z. Bordallo during a visit home with members of the House Natural Resources Committee.

The meal bill that Mrs. Bordallo, a Democrat, charged to taxpayers Aug. 11 was the largest expenditure by a House member on food and beverages during the third quarter, according to an analysis of the members’ $145 million in disbursements for the quarter conducted by watchdog.org.

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, had the second most expensive meal: $5,380 on Aug. 28 at the Middleton Hall, a posh banquet facility in Mr. Hoyer’s Southern Maryland district.

Mr. Hoyer did not immediately respond to inquiries about the expensive meals.

Bordallo spokesman Matthew Mateo said the large price tag covered the cost of a large meeting of Guam officials, community members and visiting House members.

“The Outrigger Guam Resort provided logistical and venue support for the meeting with constituents, including food and beverages, venue setup and event preparation, and technical support [such as] audio and video support services,” Mr. Mateo said. “This meeting event was attended by approximately 300 persons, inclusive of the congressional delegation.”

At least six House members attended the Aug. 10-12 delegation trip to Guam, including Rep. Nick J. Rahal, West Virginia Democrat, who is chairman of the Natural Resources Committee, and Rep. Henry E. Brown Jr., South Carolina Republican.

When all the food and beverage records for the quarter were totaled, Mrs. Bordallo led all House members with a $12,834 tab, followed by Rep. Linda T. Sanchez, California Democrat, who spent $7,233, according to watchdog.org.

The 3,400 pages of expenditure information culled by the group was made available for the first time on the Web, in keeping with a promise House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, made in June. The information previously was available only by visiting government offices.

The expenditures run the gamut from the $8.80 spent on laundry services by Rep. Mike Quigley, Illinois Democrat, to the $62,623 in travel reimbursements claimed by Rep. Don Young, Alaska Republican.

Other expenditures included $2,468 spent by Rep. Sanford D. Bishop Jr., Georgia Democrat, for a new carpet; $18,931 spent by Rep. Doc Hastings, Washington Republican, on furniture; $14,133 spent by Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., New Jersey Democrat, on security; and $17,846 spent by Rep. Donna Edwards, Maryland Democrat, on printing and advertising.

The list of pricey meals included $4,657 spent by Rep. Jean Schmidt, Ohio Republican, on a catered event July 31 at the Capitol; $4,066 spent by Rep. Barbara Lee, California Democrat, on a catered event Sept. 23 at the Capitol; and $3,863 spent by Rep. Kevin McCarthy, California Republican, for an event in his district.

Travel meals were calculated separately, with Rep. Suzanne M. Kosmas, Florida Democrat, leading the pack with $2,996 worth of dining on the go. The second largest spender on travel meals was Rep. Darrel Issa, California Republican, who spent $2,041.

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