In yet another example of Mark Warner’s saying one thing and doing another, the supposedly budget-minded senior Senator from Virginia leaves other DC-area Senators in his contrails when it comes to taxpayer-funded transportation.
One would think that Senators close to Washington would have lower travel costs for themselves and their staffs compared to, say, Senators from Hawaii or Alaska. According to a Washington Post analysis, in general that’s true. For instance, Maryland Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski only charged taxpayers $1,748 for her travel in the last full year for which data are available, while Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski racked up around $34,500 in travel expenses.
One would also think that Mark Warner, who likes voters to hear him say things such as, “[W]e should take every opportunity to ensure every taxpayer dollar is spent wisely,” would then lead by example. But according to the Washington Post analysis, one would be wrong in making any such assumption.
Not only does Mark Warner’s personal taxpayer-funded travel bill of $37,348 well more than double that of the next highest bill in the region (the $14,726 bill belonging to Delaware’s Democratic Senator Thomas Carper), but it tops those of each Senator from Alaska and Hawaii. When you lump staff travel expenses in with those of the Senators, Warner’s costs to taxpayers is almost triple that of fellow Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, himself not exactly a paragon of fiscal conservatism.
Here’s the breakdown:
|Senator||State||Senator Travel Expense||Staff Travel Expense||TOTAL|
Some questions for Senator Warner:
1. Why do you require roughly 7 times the personal travel budget as your fellow Virginia Senator, Tim Kaine?
2. Why do you require a personal travel budget more than twice that of Alaska Senator Mark Begich?
3. Your staff spends more than twice the amount on travel than Senator Kaine’s staff does. Does your office provide twice the service as Kaine’s?
4. How does this lavish amount of travel spending comport with your stated desire to reduce the public debt, and to be a good steward of taxpayer funds?
Virginia’s taxpayers deserve answers, and they deserve to know the truth behind Mark Warner’s deceptive facade of being a budget hawk. The way he runs his office, and the way he votes with President Obama, reveal Warner’s messaging for the cynical manipulation that it is.