Rep. Upton among top House spenders on year-end bonuses
U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), who promised in February to scrutinize the Obama budget proposal “line by line” for any potential cuts, gave his staff some of the biggest year-end bonuses of any member of Congress, a data analysis by Congress watchdog group LegiStorm has found.
Though the biggest bonuses were “goodbye gifts” from departing members of Congress who either were defeated or chose to leave office, Upton was the number three spender on staff bonuses among those who won re-election in 2010. This is true both in terms of total money spent on bonuses and when considering the bonuses as a percentage of the average quarterly salary given to staffers.
Rep Doris Okada Matsui (D-Calif.) and Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) outspent Upton in dollars, while Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah) and Matsui outspent Upton in terms of salary as a percentage of the average quarterly salary earned by staffers. Upton gave $133,611, or about 62 percent of what he spent on quarterly salaries in 2010, on bonuses for his staff. The total amount of bonuses paid out by congresspersons, both those departing office and those who won re-election, totaled $6.7 million.
Relative to the federal deficit, Upton’s bonuses — and indeed, all the bonuses doled out by Congress put together — are negligible. Yet this is the same “line-by-line” representative who promised to cut spending wherever possible and prided himself on voting for amendments to the continuing resolution that would defund the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (a $4.5 million cut) and the federal “Green the Capitol” environmental campaign ($1.5 million). “It is time to get our fiscal house in order,” Upton said at the time. “The House will advance a spending plan…to make meaningful reductions in the spending that has grown unchecked for the past two years.”