House members spent part of their Members Representational Allowances on these items -- and more -- during the nine-month period between late 2009 and early 2010 covered by the Sunlight Foundation's House Expenditure Reports Database. The info is highly enlightening, revealing, for instance, the popularity of Chantilly Donut's sinkers; what it costs to feed hungry congressional pages; and how lucrative it can be to own a part of the cottage industry of keeping our duly elected representatives fed and well hydrated.
How Congress Spent Your $1 Billion
Food Tab: $604K on Bottled Water
Interns and Pages: $4.4 Million
News and Research: $1.2 Million
Travel: $1.4 Million a Month
Congress Is a PC: Just $22K on Apple
About This Series
According to the documents, Democrat Gregorio Sablan, the first-ever House delegate for the Northern Mariana Islands, spent more on food than any other legislator, racking up a tab of $23,457. The second-place legislator, Texas Republican Michael Burgess, spent $17,515.
One company in particular raked in the taxpayer dough: CapitolHost. At least 61 legislators and 20 congressional offices used the catering service, to the tune of about $169,143. But that's only the tip of the iceberg salad, as you'll see below.
To read more of AOL News' audit of Congress' expense reports, please visit the first installment in this series.
Note: Unfortunately, we can't tell you how many burgers your representative ate. The disbursements data only itemizes where the various offices spent their money, not what they bought. (Before going digital, the disbursements did in fact get that specific.) Nor can we tell you what items they bought with the $276,461 in food purchases charged through Citibank, which provides a government credit card service -- the fees all show up as "Citibank," rather than the individual vendor.
Ernie Smith is the editor of ShortFormBlog, a news site equally obsessed with numbers and bad jokes.