That's the title to a post by Steve Kraske at the KC Star's Midwest Democracy blog. The reference is to Kansas Senator Jerry Moran(R), a founding member of the Senate Tea Party caucus dedicated to cutting government spending and reducing the federal debt. The obvious implication is Sen. Moran(R) is a hypocritical big spender, not a fiscal conservative.
Kraske's headline was distilled from a more in depth USA Today article syndicated across the country by its corporate parent, Gannet, Inc. The USA Today headline was even more unflattering than the Star's, yet that doesn't surprise me, as these narratives against conservatives are typically orchestrated according to Alinsky and gleefully cloned by media comrades.
The 2nd paragraph from USA Today set the tone:
"That hasn't stopped Moran from spending more from his congressional office budget than any other senator in fiscal 2012, according to Senate financial records."
Mr. Kraske's post drove home the point with comparisons:
'Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri ranked as the third-thriftiest Democrat. She ranked 90th in office spending, having used up 80 percent of her budget';
'Her colleague from Missouri, Republican Roy Blunt, ranked 21st of the 100 senators. Blunt spent 95.2 percent of his budget';
'The other Kansas senator, Pat Roberts, ranked 33rd. He spent 93.9 percent of his budget.'
In response, Senator Moran's office issued this statement:
"Sen. Moran's commitment to staying connected with Kansans is second-to-none," Silverman says. "Much of his resources have been dedicated to flying back to Kansas from Capitol Hill virtually every weekend to have conversations with Kansans and listen to their concerns.
In fact, he has held 1,000 town halls and visited hundreds of communities. His staff also dedicates their time to traveling the state, attending more than 1,000 events and meetings, and personally serving the 2.8 million Kansans Sen. Moran represents."
In short, Senator Moran used his Congressional appropriations within the proscribed budget and for their intended purpose. I think if one wished to highlight Sen. Moran(R) from Kansas, a more appropriate alternative headline could be gleaned from a quote within that article: 'Moran 'Second-to-None' in Town Halls & Personal Communication with Constituents back Home.'
But that doesn't bring out the knee jerks like a pejorative headline designed to paint a tea bagger as profligate, now does it?
So, are the USA Today and KC Star headlines correct? Yes. Are they accurate? Not very.
Let's dig a bit deeper and add a few inconvenient facts from the USA Today story not presented in the abridged Star version:
"...Moran spent the highest percentage of his budget but not the most money. California Democrats Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer each spent more than $4.3 million in 2012 out of an office budget of just less than $4.7 million.
Seven of the 10 senators who had spent most of their budgets by Sept. 30 are Democrats." (emphasis mine)
And farther down the page is this little gem:
"Eight out of 10 senators with the most money left over — both in actual dollars and percentage — at the end of the fiscal year were Republicans."
But it appears the talking points have been issued to target a founding member of the Senate Tea Party caucus with a disingenuous headline, yet leave the more lavish spending by a much larger majority of democrat senators buried down the page, and out of the headlines.
Great game, eh.