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House Minority Leader John Boehner frequently portrays himself as a no-nonsense fiscal hawk and friend of the little guy and gal. “While families struggle with rising costs of living, politicians are wasting their money on pork-barrel projects we don’t need,” he recently was quoted as saying.
Yet thanks to his campaign treasury and Leadership PAC, which he calls the “Freedom Project,” Boehner doesn’t have to worry much about increases in the cost of living. Between 2005 and 2007, the erstwhile stingy Boehner dropped roughly $685,000 on food, travel, entertainment, and fundraisers, according to figures compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.
Like a lot of politicians, Democrats as well as Republicans, Boehner makes liberal use of his political funds. In November 2006, Boehner won reelection by 26 percentage points over a Democratic rival whom he outspent $3 million to $3,000. Just three months later, he was hard at work raising (and spending) money during a golfing outing for big contributors to sunny Scottsdale, Arizona. There his Leadership PAC dropped $5,054 on lodging at the Boulders Resort and Golden Door Spa; $3,358 on food, beverages and greens fees at the Cochise/Geronimo Clubhouse, and $2,870 at Morton’s steakhouse.
During 2007 alone, Boehner used money from his political funds to pay for food or lodging at least 16 resorts or country clubs. His combined spending between 2005 and 2007 at the Wetherington Golf & Country Club alone came to nearly $60,000. Boehner’s three-year binge at the country club comes out to be roughly equivalent to the median family income (for a three-person family) in Boehner’s home state of Ohio.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
Acres of hemp grown by “patriotic‚” U.S. farmers in 1942 at the behest of the U.S. government:
A study suggested that the health effects of exposure to nuclear radiation at Chernobyl were no worse than ill health resulting from smoking and normal urban air pollution.
Greenpeace apologized after activists accidentally defaced the site of Peru’s 2,000-year-old Nazca Lines when they unfurled cloth letters reading “time for change” near the ancient sand drawings. “We fully understand,” the group wrote in a statement, “that this looks bad.”
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”