In 2007 and 2008 Congressman Mike Castle’s congressional office budget, like the budgets for other members of Congress was over $1.3 million each year.
Each member of Congress can use these funds at his or her discretion. The funds are used to cover staff salaries, transportation to and from Washington, DC, rent, office supplies and constituent communications. Given the ongoing fiscal nightmare in the federal budget, it is informative to look into members’ discretionary budgets to see how much they are spending, what they are purchasing, and how much of their allocated budget they are using.
The information on how the discretionary budget is spent was only posted online recently. Prior to the creation of http://disbursements.house.gov/, the public was required to obtain a paper document entitled “Statement of Disbursements of the House” published by the Chief Administrative Office of the House. The document is published quarterly. The new online spending portal increases transparency for congressional spending beginning in the third quarter of 2009 enabling further scrutiny of how Members of Congress are spending their discretional MRA dollars.
As one of 435 members of Congress, Castle has only one vote when it comes to spending decisions made by the legislature. However, like other members of Congress, he has complete discretion over his personal office budget.