House Statement of Disbursements and Senate Statement of Receipts and Expenditures

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For years the House has published quarterly statements and Senate has published semiannual statements that report internal statements. Only recently have the House statements been made available online, albeit in an abbreviated format, and the Senate reports are expected to be published online in 2011. The following provides background and resources regarding these publications.

House Statement of Disbursements

Primary Sources for Disbursements

Authorization from the Speaker of the House of Representatives

The rules regarding the publication of House and Senate Expenditure reports is detailed in 2 USC 104a. (link)

Related News Stories

Senate Statement of Receipts and Expenditures

Primary Sources for Statement of Receipts and Expenditures

  • Government Printing Office -- hardcopy or microform available for purchase from GPO, entitled "Report of the Secretary of the Senate, From April 1, 2009 to September 1, 2009" (Senate Document 111-8)
  • The Senate is planning the digital release of expenses in PDF format starting in November. - See "Senate Expenses to be PDF'd"  - written by John Wonderlich at the Sunlight Foundation. April 19, 2011.
  • Senate Finally Publishes Its Spending Online, But Could Do Much Better, November 3, 2011

Legislative Authorization

The rules regarding the publication of House and Senate Expenditure reports is detailed in 2 USC 104a. (link)

The Legislative Appropriations Act for FY 2010 ( link--search for "reporting requirement"]) added paragraph 6, requiring the Clerk of the Senate to publish online a searchable, itemized expenditure report. It says, in full:

REPORTING REQUIREMENT Sec. 2. Section 105(a) of the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act 1965 (Public Law 88-454; 2 U.S.C. 104a) is amended-- (1) in the last sentence of paragraph (1), by striking `shall' and inserting `may'; and  (2) by adding at the end the following: `(6) Beginning with the report covering the first full semiannual period of the 112th Congress, the Secretary of the Senate-- ` (1) shall publicly post on-line on the website of the Senate each report in a searchable, itemized format as required under this section; `(2) shall issue each report required under this section in electronic form; and `(3) may issue each report required under this section in other forms at the discretion of the Secretary of the Senate.'.

Possible Types of Disbursement Stories


The following is a list of subject matter on which disbursement data-driven stories could be told. A contextualization of some of these items can lead to greater understanding of the workings of congress; other can be confusing or misleading.

Types of Stories

Congressional Staff
(a) Comparisons of pay:
by title

by gender

against private sector

(b) Retention rates

(c) Which staff are connected to which members
(d) Revolving door (staffer to lobbyist; lobbyist to staffer)

(e) Multiple Payments (campaigns, etc)

(f) End of year bonuses? Overtime?

(g) Member retirement bonuses to staff

(h) end-of-year procurement

(i) hiring family members, friends, campaign staff, lobbyist relations

(j) which staff are connected to other staff
(k) who is considered a senior staff who must file additional disclosure forms

Office expenses
(a) Compare travel costs

(b) Travel boondoggles

(c) compare mail (USPS vs. FedEx vs. UPS)
(d) cell phone usage
(e) inappropriate expenses (overcharges, bogus charges, cheaper sourced products)
(f) political liability expenses

(g) look at where bulk/ percentage of offices expenses go

(h) expenses for transportation (e.g. car leases, purchases)

(i) Buy american

Other stories
(a) leadership expense funds

(b) former speakers allocation

Transformative uses
(a) house staff directory