At a time when the government was being forced to tighten its belt, congressional offices were loosening theirs.
House leadership offices racked up a $30,000 tab for burritos, donuts, chocolate, coffee and other goodies during the last three months of 2012, sticking taxpayers with the check.
Around the same time that House Speaker John Boehner was locked in negotiations with President Obama over how best to cut government spending to avoid sequestration (spoiler alert: they didn’t) the speaker’s office racked up more than $5,000 in groceries from Taylor Gourmet and Whole Foods, and another $2,500 for coffee in just three months, a congressional disclosure report from the last quarter of 2012 shows.
But Boehner wasn’t the only one who went on a spending spree. Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy’s office dropped $2,500 at Qdoba in one day. (That’s a lot of burritos.) Another day, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s office splurged on $600 worth of gourmet chocolate.
Of course, to be fair, congressional offices often host constituent breakfasts, luncheons and schedule hundreds of meetings each week while they’re in session. Though we’re not sure how many visitors noticed the $1,800 of “habitation expenses” Pelosi’s office spent at a flower shop in Virginia.
But the spending spree may soon come to a close as sequestration has required all Congressional offices to cut 8 percent from their own budgets. This could mean that McCarthy’s office may have to settle for chips and salsa.
See the complete list of Representatives’ expense disclosures here and this is what we found:
(All expenses listed were for food, beverages and flowers from October 1 through December 31 of 2012)
Rep. John Boehner - House Speaker (R) - $11,483.93
$2,594.31 - Taylor Gourmet
$2,515.14 - Whole Foods
$2,200 - Joe Ragan’s Coffee LTD
$1,627.96 - Miscellaneous food and beverage expenses including P.F. Changs, PotBelly,
$1,021.26 - Port of Piraeus III, a local Washington, D.C. restaurant.
$504 - Hague Quality Water
Rep. Kevin McCarthy Majority Whip (R) - $9,995.10
$2,586.62 - Buca Di Beppo
$2,495.50 - Qdoba
$2,305.79 - Chicken Out Catering
$1105.32 - Joe Ragan’s Coffee LTD
$993.87 - miscellaneous food and beverage expenses
$508 – The Corner Bakery
Rep. Eric Cantor -Majority Leader (R) - $2,472.84
$753.99 - Deer Park Water
$1, 438.83 - Harris Teeter and Safeway
$280.02 - Dunkin Donuts
Rep. Nancy Pelosi - Minority Leader (D) - $6,555.44
$1,796 - Helen Olivia, a floral shop in Virginia and Surroundings Flowers
$1,512 - Hague Quality Water
$1,173.32 - Crystal Springs
$884.12 - Harris Teeter, Giant, Target, Whole Foods
$610 - Edward Marc Gourmet Chocolate
$580 - Cosi, Dunkin Donuts, and other food and beverage expenses
Rep. Steny Hoyer - Minority Whip (D) - $3,810.68
$2,421.03 - Capitol Host catering service
$1,085 - Food and Beverages filed under a congressional staff member’s name
$304.65 - Panera Bread