MN-02 : Washington’s reckless spending – Kline style

With the unemployment rate near 10 percent and the national debt climbing by the day, it is clear that America’s economy cannot afford for Washington’s reckless spending spree to continue” is the backdrop for John Kline’s R-MN-02 statement “We can’t fund everything.”

[From an MPR interview :
KLINE: We’ve had unemployment benefits be extended for almost two years in some states, a little bit less in Minnesota. When you’re running a one and a half trillion dollar deficit per year, that’ll be part of the discussion as to whether that’s a priority for how we’re going to spend money. I would just reiterate what I said earlier, that the obligation for the Congress is to look at the entire budget and recognize that we’re borrowing over forty cents of every dollar that we spend, and say what are the priorities going to be. We can’t fund everything.

Prioritizing funding was a key question offered by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) in his Wastebook report :

As the year 2010 ends, millions of Americans are still struggling to find work. Even those lucky enough to have jobs have had to tighten their belts and trim household budgets. For some this has meant cutting out luxuries; for others, having to make
tough choices between necessities. For everyone it means taking stock of what
they can really afford.
Is it so much to expect Congress do the same?

It’s a fair question … how does each member of Congress spend OUR MONEY to represent us ?

The reporting for 2010 is incomplete, but in 2009, Mr. Kline spent $1,377,096.59 based on :
$937,963.22 – Personnel Compensation
$ 92,942.59 – Franked Mail
$ 82,721.46- Printing and Reproduction
$ 77,702.53 – Rent, Utilities, and Communication
$ 75,801.69- Travel
$ 64,909.45- Other services
$ 42,542.28- Supplies and Materials
$ 2,513.37- Equipment

In three quarters for this year, Mr. Kline has already exceeded his Franked Mail spending ($121,189.44) and Printing (94,333.66) and most likely will exceed the Communications category ($70,687.29).

The new Congress is expected to vote on reducing their Members Re-imbursement Account by $60,000 in a move that could save $26.1 million.
$60,000 is a good starting point … it should be a lot higher … how about $168,660 … or $289,849 ?

Mr. Kline could do that without reducing his staff or travel or office rent … he could do that by just affecting one supplier.

Citizen Dialog LLC is a Kline preferred supplier … providing printing and telecommunications services.
FYI : Citizen Dialog LLC, located at 106 S. Columbus St. in Alexandria VA, is one of the nation’s leaders in telephone town hall … having conducted over 400 events where voters are contacted, polls are done, and volunteers and donors can sign up.

Reviewing Mr. Kline’s disbursements for the first nine months reveal (note : why Mr. Kline did not pay in 2009 for work performed in 2009 is unknown … it should be asked if the supplier wanted to delay recognition of income until 2010 for tax purposes, or if Mr. Kline wanted to hold payment for 2009 budget reasons.)
$ 11,910 for printing services on 5/27/09
$ 18,070 for printing services on 9/08/09
$ 16,655 for printing services on 11/06/09
$ 17,830 for printing services on 12/16/09
$ 2,750 for telecommunication services on 1/19/10
$ 2,750 for telecommunication services on 2/22/10
$ 22,535 for printing services on 3/5/10
$ 2,750 for telecommunication services on 3/15/10
$ 10,720 for printing services on 4/8/10
$ 13,150 for printing services on 4/8/10
$ 3,750 for telecommunication services on 4/26/10
$ 7,930 for printing services on 4/30/10
$ 15,395 for printing services on 4/30/10
$ 13,565 for printing services on 5/12/10
$ 8,900 for printing services on 5/12/10

That’s $ 168,660 of TAXPAYER dollars spent …. money that could have gone for providing healthcare services (be it to the needy, the elderly, schoolchildren, or our veterans), but instead most likely spent to promote Mr. Kline’s opposition to healthcare reform. Actually if Mr. Kline did not spend this money, it would have been used to reduce the deficit …
SEC. 101 of the legislation defining funding for members offices : Notwithstanding any
other provision of law, any amounts appropriated under this Act for ‘‘House of Representatives—Salaries and Expenses—Members’ Representational Allowances’’ shall be available only for fiscal year 2010. Any amount remaining after all payments are made under such allowances for fiscal year 2010 shall be deposited in the Treasury and used for deficit reduction.

While Congress may continue to debate the implementation of Healthcare Reform, is there any reason for Mr. Kline to be spending money for printing and mailing this literature to selected constituents ? Remember Mr. Kline has spent $ 121,189.49 for Franked Mail this year on top of his payments to Citizen Dialog.

Senator Coburn has challenged legislators to make choices on how OUR money is spent. Senator Coburn noted that federal employees have spent over $440 Million on unnecessary printing costs. Further, Senator Coburn noted that the Department of Defense spends about $490 Million in unnecessary printing costs.
Mr. Kline, you are part of the problem.

Mr. Kline has a TAXPAYER paid website for official communications … why not use it to convey whatever message that is being printed by Citizen Dialog ?

Second question, why use a Virginia based business … Minnesota has a many printing businesses that would have greatly appreciated the chance to provide that service ?

Mr. Kline what is your priority … jobs for Minnesotans or keeping your job while abusing OUR TAXDOLLARS ?