Texas Rep. Spends $986/mo in Taxpayer Dollars to Lease Personal Tahoe Hybrid
Last week, the U.S. House refused to reject a plan to stop members from using their office account money to lease personal automobiles. The 63 House members leasing personal vehicles with taxpayer funds totals almost $500,000 per year, with an average monthly lease payment of $605 per month. Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) tops the list at $986 per month for his Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid, plus another $333.33 for a second vehicle. Of 63 House members, 37 Democrats are leasing personal vehicles and paying the average of $606.73 in monthly payments with taxpayer funds. Twenty-six Republicans are leasing personal vehicles, with an average monthly payment of $615.20. "It is permissible for a Member to lease or purchase a motor vehicle with campaign funds and to use that vehicle on an unlimited basis for travel for both campaign and official House purposes," the Ethics Committee guidance states. "Campaign funds may also be used to pay the expenses incurred in operating the vehicle, such as insurance, maintenance and repair, registration fees, and any property tax," it adds. PHOTOS: Full Galleries of the 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe The lawmaker utilizing the most office funds for his personal vehicle was Randy Neugebauer (R-TX.) Neugebauer spends $1,318.97 per month on two vehicles. One lease costs $333.33 and the second $985.64. OK. But 29,000 miles in a $329/mo 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 is the same 29,000 miles you'd be driving in whatever costs $984.64, right? Neugebauer tops the list, and he's one of four Texan lawmakers in the top 10, totaling just under $4,000 per month or $48,000 in lease costs for that state alone. PHOTOS: See more images of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250In an interview with KFYO, Congressman Neugebauer explained the spending: “One of the things members (of Congress) get is an allowance and they hire all of their people, lease all of their office space through (the fund). One of the things I do is lease vehicles so that my employees can travel throughout the (19th Congressional) district. We’ve looked at both ways, both reimbursing them on a mileage basis or leasing the cars. Now for a member like me, that has 29,000 miles, 29 counties, we drive our vehicles a lot of miles.”
The Tahoe Hybrid costs $56,425 Tahoe Hybrid and returns 23 miles per gallon on the highway.
Only House members can use office funds to lease personal cars. The Senate banned that practice several years ago.
PHOTOS: See more images of the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver D-MO: $999.55
Rep. G.K. Butterfield D-NC: $999.50
Rep. Gregory Meeks D-NY: $989.90
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher R-CA: $943.87
Rep. Bobby Rush D-IL: $927.97
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson D-TX: $914.95
Rep. Joe Barton R-TX: $884.67
Rep. John Culberson R-TX: $880.00
Rep. Kerry Bentivolio R-MI: $800.00
Neugebauer is right: Congressmen in certain districts have a lot of driving to do. But in the private sector, most businesses provide a list of approved cars that include things like Ford Fusions and Buick Regals, not the Chevy Tahoe Hybrid Neugebauer's driving. PHOTOS: See more images of the Ford Fusion