Millions Of Taxpayer Dollars Are Being Spent By Lawmakers Without Receipts

( — Over 300 members of the House of Representatives received reimbursements for food and lodging last year amounting to at least $5.2 million under a new program that allows them to seek reimbursement without providing receipts.

The new taxpayer-funded expense plan was approved by a House panel last year with bipartisan support.

The plan was aimed at making it easier for House members to cover the costs associated with maintaining a Washington, D.C., residence in addition to their residences in their home districts.

However, critics argue that the lack of record-keeping makes it easier for lawmakers to abuse the program.

The plan has only a handful of rules. Lawmakers cannot seek reimbursement on either the principal or interest on a mortgage. They can only claim expenses for the days that they are in or traveling to Washington, D.C. Reimbursements must not exceed the actual expenses paid.

Additionally, lawmakers have daily spending caps that have been determined by the General Services Administration. While they are “encouraged” to keep records of their daily expenses, lawmakers are not required to do so.

A total of 319 House members—166 Republicans and 153 Democrats—were reimbursed last year under the program, as were three delegates from the US territories.

The biggest recipient of reimbursements was Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz. In 2023, Gaetz received nearly $30,000 in reimbursements for lodging expenses and more than $10,000 for food.

A spokesperson for the Florida Republican said the lodging expenses were for days that Gaetz remained in Washington while the House was not in session to work on official business related to his position on the select committee investigating the weaponization of the federal government.

Other members of that select committee either expensed far less than Matt Gaetz or didn’t participate in the reimbursement program at all.

Lawmakers who own homes in the Washington, D.C., area, including South Carolina Republican Nancy Mace and California Democrat Eric Swalwell, requested significant reimbursements for lodging in 2023.

Mace, who owns a $1.6 million townhouse in Capitol Hill, expensed $19,395 in nine months last year, averaging more than $2,000 a month.

Swalwell, who has a $1.2 million home in the Washington, D.C., neighborhood of Eckington, expensed nearly $19,000 over 11 months.

In a September 2023 survey from the Pew Research Center, 81 percent of Americans said members of Congress do a poor job of keeping personal financial interests separate from their official work.

A program in which taxpayer money is used to reimburse lawmakers for their housing and food expenses with very little accountability could only further harm the American people’s trust in Congress.

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