Maintaining a congressional office is expensive. That’s why the federal government gives each of the 435 members of the U.S. House roughly $1.4 million a year to pay for everything from PCs to paperclips, travel to staying in touch with constituents.
That last category, known as “franked mail,” can be particularly costly in an election year, especially in a tight race. That helps explain how South Jersey Republican U.S. Rep. Tom MacArthur spent close to $210,000 on it.
“It’s not a waste of taxpayer dollars,” said MacArthur, who considers constituent outreach to be a priority. He is fending off a challenge from Democrat Andy Kim in a competitive midterm race.
“Look, every member of Congress gets the same budget, the exact same budget. Some members spend them on swanky offices. Some members buy cars or SUVs,” MacArthur said. “I have low-budget offices. I’m in the basement of a town hall where I don’t have to pay rent. I’m in a community center where I pay very little.”
MacArthur was not the biggest spender in the region. That distinction goes to Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, who shelled out $316,000.
on WHYY online, a content partner of NJ Spotlight.