Statement from Phil Troyer, Republican candidate in the 2010 primary for the 3rd District Congressional seat:
Troyer Demands Congressman Souder Return Misappropriated Funds
(March 2, 2010) Indiana 3rd Congressional District candidate Phil Troyer strongly criticized Congressman Mark Souder as being out of touch with the concerns of the average taxpayer following disclosure the Congressman had used taxpayer dollars for personal luxuries while traveling on foreign junkets.
In an article entitled, “U.S. Lawmakers Keep the Change,” The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that many lawmakers fail to comply with the law by returning unspent daily allowances granted to them by the State Department when traveling overseas. The authors of the story interviewed twenty Members of Congress, and some indicated they had used their daily stipends for “shopping or to defray spouses’ travel expenses.”
One example cited in the story was a $200 painting Congressman Mark Souder purchased while in Turkey. According to the article, Souder originally hung the painting in his office but later moved it to his home.
The amount of the daily allowance varies from country-to-country, but Members can request an additional $50 per day if they believe the standard daily stipend will be insufficient. The money is supposed to be used only for legitimate travel expenses of the Member – not their spouses – but Congressman Souder admitted, “The extra money and the plus-ups are really for the spouses.”
“At a time when northeast Indiana is facing double digit unemployment and many families are struggling to make ends meet, it is beyond belief that our congressman would use taxpayer dollars on shopping sprees for himself and his wife,” noted Troyer. “It shows just how out of touch he has become after 16 years in Congress. He had no legal right to misappropriate tax dollars to his own personal use and needs to repay the money – immediately.”
Troyer for Congress website