When Corrine Brown, a Democrat from North Florida, traveled on congressional business, she used a chauffeured Lincoln Town Car and an SUV at a cost of nearly $8,000.
And Tom Rooney, a House Republican from the Treasure Coast, spent about $2,500 to maintain an aquarium in his office.
To government watchdogs monitoring how our tax dollars are spent, the expenditures suggest that some members of Congress are out of touch with the financial hardships facing many of their constituents.
"Shame on our congressmen and [congresswomen] to be so insensitive to the plight of Floridians and Americans who can barely make ends meet," said Dominic Calabro, president of Florida TaxWatch. "It's absolutely the wrong message at the wrong time."
Pete Sepp, spokesman for the National Taxpayers Union in Alexandria, Va., said lawmakers may not understand why "people could be upset over a few thousand dollars out of a budget of trillions, but it shouldn't surprise them."
"It is a very important symbol of the federal government's overall behavior to watch the p's and q's on office expenditures," Sepp said. "It's one of the few costs of government that people can relate to directly."
And it adds up to more than $1 billion a year.
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