Revealed: What Yer Congressman Is Driving—And What Yer Paying For It

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Doug Mataconis at Below the Beltway reports on a really annoying Congressional perk: Representatives get to lease cars on the public dime, including high-end, pricey SUVs and luxury numbers.

From a Detroit Free Press account he links to:

Some members of Congress use their office budgets to lease Lexuses, an Infiniti, even a BMW 530i, which one auto critic called "one of the world's best sport-luxury sedans." The lease prices of some cars topped $1,000 a month…

Members of Congress could lease less expensive—and less flashy—cars through the General Services Administration, the federal government's purchasing agency, which negotiates bulk lease prices for the federal government.

SUVs can be leased through the GSA for as little as $300 a month, according to the GSA Web site. Four-door, midsize sedans cost $258 a month or $3,096 a year….But spokespeople for several lawmakers said they were unfamiliar with the GSA program or thought that Congress wasn't eligible.

For a list of congressmen who leased cars with public money (and for how much), go here.

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  1. It’s really nice to see both parties work together towards a common goal for a change. I say if leasing expensive automobiles courtesy of the taxpayer helps bring unity to our fractured government then so be it. After all, is it not our responsibility to ensure the comfort of our elected and exaulted leaders so that they can best decide how we may live our lives?

  2. Jesus, we’ve really got the cart in front of the hen house–wait, the fox guarding the horse–no, wait, shit, how does it go? You can get a good look at a butcher’s ass by sticking your head up there–dammit, I give up. Those assholes in Congress.

  3. Mo Hinchley (D-NY) is apparently the one cruising in the beemer.

    He also champions leaving medical marijuana patients alone

    http://mercycenters.org/legis/HR2087.html

    There was the quote there saying, ‘he doesnt think taxpayer dollars should be used for…’ which was kind of cute.

    What they SHOULD be used for is getting the shocks lowered so you have less drag… and a subwoofer….

    JG

  4. Are you suggesting that congress isn’t aware the law allows them the lease with the GSA? Surely not.

  5. Hmm. I figured they were all driven around in limos, so this is actually a relief.

  6. Lexuses? Wouldn’t the plural be Lexi?

  7. If they weren’t leasing their BMWs using tax money I’m sure some helpful lobbyist would step up to the plate and help out.

  8. I’m just fine with it. Complaining about the cost of cars (renting a compact from Hertz costs more than $1,000/month and a car w/driver much, much more) is really f’ing petty.

  9. Wouldn’t the plural be Lexi?

    Lexus isn’t a Latin word, so no.

  10. And they say there’s no civility in Los Angeles – glad to see that my rep is not on the list.

  11. Sure, there are much bigger wastes that our politicians put upon us every day, but if they can’t even be expected to pay for their own, somewhat unnecessary items (sorry, but no one needs a car), then WTF? Those assholes make more money than I do, as it is. Where’s my bulk price car lease? (Maybe I should start a company…hmmm.)

  12. So that’s what John Kerry meant when he said all those SUVs weren’t his.

  13. This is something that I’d like to get pissed off about, but looking at the list most of the cars seem relatively practical. There are a few exceptions–like Charlie Rangel’s Caddy DeVille–but its not like everyone in Congress is rolling in a Ferrari on the public dime.

  14. Is this list in anyway complete? I for one am impressed that of the 3 lawbreakers in my great state of Alaska only Don Young is leasing a car on my dime. Of course it is a Chrysler 300 at $9700 a year.

  15. Complaining about the cost of cars (renting a compact from Hertz costs more than $1,000/month and a car w/driver much, much more) is really f’ing petty.

    Can I have your credit card number? I could use some new wheels. I was thinking something in a nice Dodge Durango, and since you don’t mind…

  16. sorry, but no one needs a car

    Hmmm. Says who, and where does he live?

  17. Make them drive their own cars & reimburse them 8 cents a mile or whatever the rate is the rest of us can deduct for business expenses.

  18. kwix,

    the list is only house members. Either Alaska has one house member or I have been grossly misinformed about the number of people living there.

  19. John – I live in Phoenix, so believe me, I know how inconvenient it can be to not have a car. In fact, I lived here for over 4 years without a car and made due. Did it suck? You betcha. But I didn’t absolutely need one to get by. I suspect a lot of these pols could make do without a taxpayer subsidised car lease.

  20. What can’t they pay for their own cars, like 99% of americans?

  21. If we don’t pay them to lease cars they’ll end up spending a lot more of our money funding public transportation in order to get around. On balance, I’m happy to buy them all an SUV.

  22. I figure Mike Ross has a relative with a Ford dealership and leases one for each mistress. I guess it’s true, you can’t get a hummer for$36k.

    And why is it that the cost of a Yukon varies so much? Do you pick a number between 4 and 12 and that is what you pay?

  23. Gotta agree with heh2k here. We all pay for own wheels and (speaking for myself) make a relatively puny fraction of what they pay themselves from the public till. Let them pay for their cars and trucks out of their paychecks like the rest of us. Are they gonna put their mortgages on the public dime, too? Oh, they’re thinking about it, believe you me. Disgusting.

  24. Hell, if those idiots ended one top-five entitlement program I’d personally rickshaw their asses cross country gratis.

  25. But spokespeople for several lawmakers said they were unfamiliar with the GSA program or thought that Congress wasn’t eligible.

    What a bunch of kidders!

  26. First, what’s that multi-billion dollar subsidized train system for?

    Second, if I were in Congress, I’d lease the Urban Assault Vehicle. Vrummm!!

  27. Members of the house spend time in DC and in their home states. Do they get their cars paid for in their home states as well? If not, then this is a second vehicle. Since they have to work in two different places, I don’t see this as that bad; it’s a reasonable perk of the job.

    How about we let them keep their cars, but ban them for life from working as a lobbyist?

  28. On the scale of congressional outrageousness, this ranks pretty low in my estimation.

    Of course, if you actually have to drive yourself around town, you certainly aren’t on the A-List in D.C. I laugh everytime I see one of the huge convoys of limos, Secret Service, and DC cops devoted to parading some Undersecretary of Somethingorother around town. Well, I laugh and then I cuss…

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