Thursday, February 12, 2009

Handing over the Keys to the...Brunomobile?

We’ve written plenty about the inequitable distribution of member resources in the Senate, but lack of transparency obscured the full picture of just how bad it really was.

According to a story in yesterday’s New York Times, it was pretty bad – or good, if you’re in it for the entertainment value.

The Times reports that while conducting an assessment of how the Senate budget is allocated, Democrats have uncovered a slew of perks, ranging from the cushy to the bizarre, that Republicans granted themselves during their 44-year reign in the majority. Some highlights:

  • A secret TV studio used to record cable access shows
  • More than 800 parking spaces near the capitol
  • A bloated payroll and preferential printing at the Senate printing plant

And most certainly not least:

  • The “Brunomobile,” a van with six leather pilot chairs (some of which swivel, notes the Times) and its very own conference table.

Senator Smith says that the Majority is still trying to track down everyone on the 1,200 to 1,500-member Senate payroll, which might be tough, because nobody is quite sure exactly how many employees there are.

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