Despite all the talk of belt-tightening in Washington, CNN’s Lisa Desjardins dug through many Congressional expense reports and discovered up to $6.1 million was paid out in bonuses to Congressional staff members during the beginning of the year, at the height of talks about a potential government shutdown.
In the expense statements, bonuses are included within the broadly defined category of “other compensation.” After confirming with various offices, Desjardins reports the amount of bonuses handed out by Republicans in the time period was $908,000 and for Democrats it was $3.1 million in bonuses, while the remaining amount was awarded by Congressional committees. Some representatives are happy to defend the expenditure like Democratic Congressman Jim Clyburn who said in a statement:
“My staff worked extremely hard . . . including quite a few all-nighters and many weekends . . . and I rewarded them with an end-of-the-year bonus.”
Yet many others were less eager to justify it. Even though Congressional staffers do not earn a high salary to begin with, the idea of taxpayer money being used for discretionary bonuses is sure to rub many people the wrong way.
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