Count U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan among those self-professed fiscal conservatives in Washington who want the country to "do as I say, not as I do." In the first three months of this year, the Sarasota Republican led the U.S. House by spending $142,198 of taxpayers' money on slick, full-color mailings and other communications to his constituents. So much for frugality.
According to the Washington Post, Buchanan spent 19 times the average expenditure of $7,500 per member of the House. Congressional records show three other Florida Republican House members cracked the top 20 spenders: Ocala Rep. Cliff Stearns, $67,420; Spring Hill Rep. Richard Nugent, $64,292; and Tequesta Rep. Tom Rooney, $51,583.
But here's another comparison for Buchanan: In just three months, he spent three times as much government money on self-promotional propaganda as the average Florida public schoolteacher makes in a year. And he did it as a member of the new House majority that refuses to raise the debt ceiling without significant cuts in federal spending.
"I understand that there will be some pain and sacrifice associated with trimming the budget," Buchanan said in February. Buchanan's constituents should ask the third-term representative why he's not practicing what he preaches.