After Schock: House to Review Spending Rules
The Committee on House Administration announced Friday it is reviewing regulations governing lawmaker spending. The announcement comes in the wake of Illinois Republican Aaron Schock’s resignation due to improper spending of his congressional funds.
House Administration Chairwoman Candice S. Miller, R-Mich., said in a statement that the committee “will review current House regulations and explore ways to strengthen the regulations governing official expenses, as well as ways to enhance the training and educational opportunities available to assist each office with compliance.” Schock’s fellow Illinois Republican, Rep. Rodney Davis, will lead the review, along with Rep. Zoe Lofgren. D-Calif. Davis, a former congressional staffer who is new to the committee, said he was honored to be chosen to help steer the review.
“We have a great responsibility as Members of Congress to be good stewards of taxpayers’ dollars and I look forward to working with my colleagues to make understanding and complying with House rules and regulations as seamless as possible,” Davis said in a statement.
Davis was on hand as Schock gave his farewell speech Thursday, giving his colleague a hug. Schock is officially resigning on Tuesday, after allegations and six weeks of news reports that Schock improperly spent his congressional funds.
The lawmakers’ handbook states that individual members must determine if spending is related to his or her congressional duties and only spending that is “official and representational” can be reimbursed.
House Administration is charged with divvying up member funds. Each member of Congress receives a representational allowance, also known as an MRA. The Office of Finance, which operates under the House chief administrative officer, collects and publishes a member’s expenditures each quarter. Individual offices are responsible for ensuring their spending complies with the regulations, and are supposed to contact the House Ethics Committee with questions.
Following Schock’s resignation, a number of lawmakers noted that, despite the scandal, member spending rules did not need to be clarified . They argued the rules were straightforward, and did not warrant additional ethics training.
But, as Miller noted in her statement Friday, there is always room for improvement.
“The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement — and our group of Members is committed to finding solutions,” Miller said.
Hannah Hess contributed to this report .
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