Deadbeat Watch

Among the paragons who are shocked, just shocked, that some Judiciary Committee staffers read some non-password protected computer files of other Judiciary Committee staffers may be some who are stealing food and services from the taxpayers.

According to a March 10 article in Roll Call (paid subscription required), the U.S. Senate Restaurants “experienced more than $678,000 in sales losses in fiscal 2003. While that amount is significantly less than the $1.2 million loss posted in fiscal 2002, it is still nearly double the losses of $351,000 and $388,000 reported in fiscal 2001 and 2000, respectively.”

The audit says “if losses from operations continue, the [restaurant] fund will continue to require [taxpayer-supplied] financial support to maintain operations…”

That’s the first interesting point: That taxpayers have been subsidizing the Senators’ food. Now it gets even more interesting:

“The audit also shows that those customers allowed to run a tab — Senators, former Senators and certain officials — often fail to pay their bill on time. In fiscal 2003, the restaurants billed $189,545 to the ‘customer accounts’ of which than $88,000, about 47 percent, was paid back within a 30-day period. Nearly $27,000 in charges remained outstanding after 60 days and an additional $65,000 remained outstanding after 90 days.”

(That wording is a little confusing. Comparing the text to a chart in the newspaper, it appears that the $27,000 figure refers to accounts 60-90 days old and the $65,000 figure to accounts 90 days or more old.)

So, there are Senators, former Senators, and “certain officials” who haven’t paid their resturant bills in months.

My suggestions:

1) Name them all. In public.

2) Dock pay/pension payments for unpaid bills over 30 days old from now on.

3) File charges for “improper retrieval.” (See “Wuss Watch” below)

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