For the Record: Davis' spending among top 20% in House

For the Record: Davis' spending among top 20% in House

As prosecutors prepare their corruption case against former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, The News-Gazette decided to look at the past quarter's spending by U.S. Rep. RODNEY DAVIS, R-Taylorville.

While there doesn't appear to be anything as lavish as Schock's "Downton Abbey"-themed office redecoration, Davis' spending came out in the top 20 percent compared with other representatives.

"Each member of Congress receives a Member Representational Allowance (MRA), which is used for anything related to their official duties in the House such as staff pay, official travel, constituent mail, district office expenses, etc., so spending can vary per quarter based on a lot of different factors," Davis spokeswoman Ashley Phelps said in an email. 

The MRA is based on a formula that takes into account the distance from Davis’ district to Washington, D.C., and the number of addresses in his district. Phelps noted that Davis’ office has returned unspent funds each year he’s been in Congress, and that Davis led a task force after Schock resigned that resulted in new rules for House spending and transparency.

Among the noteworthy numbers:

— From July 1 to Sept. 30, Davis' office spent $340,421, above the average representative's $293,077, according to house spending records recently released by ProPublica. So far this year, his office has spent $901,101, above the average of $838,329.

— Since Davis joined Congress in 2013, his office's spending has increased, though not dramatically. In 2013, it totaled $745,147 through the third quarter. It then jumped 18 percent in 2014, to $878,281, and has since remained relatively steady.

— From 2013 to 2014 (an election year), the biggest increases were in "franked mail" (official correspondence that uses the representative's signature instead of a stamp), printing/reproduction and travel expenses. Spending on franked mail through the third quarter increased from $18,275 to $92,105, on printing and reproduction from $30,885 to $70,917, and on travel from $22,516 to $46,943.

— Predictably, the office spent the most on personnel ($638,658 so far this year, or 71 percent). Nineteen staffers were paid in the latest quarter, including four constituent services representatives, six legislative staffers, a chief of staff, and communications, casework and district directors.

— After personnel, the next-biggest spending category so far in 2016 was rent/communication/utilities, followed by franked mail, printing/reproduction, travel, other services, supplies/materials, and finally equipment, on which $1,709.85 has been spent.

— His office spent $14,131 on travel in the past quarter, with $4,977 of that going toward private-car mileage reimbursements. Of that, Davis received $1,113. Another $4,297 went toward commercial transportation.

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MahometMatt wrote on December 14, 2016 at 12:12 pm

Davis's district is one of the least geographically compact in this part of the country, so it would come as no surprise if his travel expenses were higher than average. Not only would he have have many more miles to cover to get from one end of his district to the other, but every flight between his district and D.C. requires a connecting flight into a small market airport.