Members of Congress Spent $160,000 on Parades

Electioneering members buy candy, hats, and floats for local parades.

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Members of Congress don't just like bringing home the bacon. They also like tossing out the candy. Federal election reports reveal that lawmakers have spent $160,000 on parade goodies for the 2010 election. [See which industries give the most to Congress.]

Though the data does not extend up to July 4--the last reported parade disbursement is from May 2010--the totals show that candidates have spent lavishly on parade-related expenses, including supplies, entrance fees, donations, refreshments for parade volunteers, and sponsorships. The top expenditure? Candy, on which candidates spent over $20,800. Candidates also reported spending nearly $17,800 on parade entry fees and over $12,600 on floats.

Tops in parade spending thus far election season is Indiana Republican Representative Dan Burton, with nearly $12,000. New Jersey Democratic Rep. Donald Payne ($8,800), Nevada Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley ($8,710), Michigan Republican Rep. Dave Camp ($7,300), and New York Democratic Rep. Michael McMahon ($6,250) all round out the top five in reported parade spending. [See where Camp's campaign funds come from.]

Although not all candidates were detailed in itemizing their disbursements, those who did tell a lot about their parade appearances. Payne reported spending the most on parade floats ($8,800), while Candice Miller spent the most on candy, with $4056.81. It appears that New Jersey Democratic Rep. Albio Sires traveled in style, having three times reported paying for parade-related DJ services (Todd Long, a Republican candidate for Florida's 8th district House seat, went lower-tech and bought a boombox at Family Dollar instead). It also appears that some candidates did more than throw candy: Burton spent over $2,610 on firehats, Washington Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers had $824 itemized toward "parade pencils," and Florida Republican Rep. Gus Bilirakis spent $287.52 on parade beads.

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