Tea Party Deficit Hawks Don’t Mind Charging the Taxpayer For Personal Cars

Source: ThinkProgress

From the Drivers-Don’tPay-Their-Own-Way Department…

ThinkProgress has done some sleuthing and found that seven Tea Party freshmen, who came to Congress on a platform of strict frugality and deficit reduction, have been sticking taxpayers with the bill for their own personal cars. These are some of the same people who hijacked the transportation bill conference process by speechifying about spending when hardworking Hill staff were up nights trying to make compromises.

Chip Cravaack, who ousted Jim Oberstar in Minnesota and is now taking a seat on the T & I Committee, driving his "War Wagon". Image from Cravaack's ##http://www.facebook.com/cravaackforcongress?ref=search##Facebook## page
Chip Cravaack drove this "War Wagon" during the campaign and appears to still require a large set of wheels for his own personal use -- at taxpayer expense. Image from Cravaack's ##http://www.facebook.com/cravaackforcongress?ref=search##Facebook## page

There’s nothing illegal about it, as ThinkProgress reporter Scott Keyes says, “but it smacks of hypocrisy for Tea Partiers like [Sean] Duffy who promised to ‘lead by example‘ when it comes to deficit reduction.” Remember, these cars are for personal use, not for traveling on Congressional business — although Duffy released a statement in response to the ThinkProgress report claiming the vehicle he leased is a converted minibus that he uses to get around his congressional district as a “Mobile Office.”

The hardest pill to swallow here is that the Tea Party rep who’s billing the public most extravagantly for his hot wheels is none other than Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN) — the guy who defeated transportation reform hero James Oberstar in the 2010 election. [NOTE: It’s been brought to my attention that Cravaack isn’t actually a member of the Congressional Tea Party Caucus, though he was elected with wide Tea Party support, endorsed by Tea Party Express, and says Tea Party values “are pretty much what my values are, too.”]

He’s racking up more than $1,000 a month in expenses for his 2011 Chevy Equinox, a crossover SUV with all-wheel drive.

Since Tea Party adherents tend to favor policies that basically require everyone to own a car, shouldn’t these guys already have their own wheels?

  • Hohoho

    Geez Cravaack your car could have paid for someone’s salary.

  • Having written an article on this topic (http://www.thedp.com/article/2007/01/evan_goldin_driving_in_the_wrong_direction), I don’t see anything inherently wrong with having a budget for transportation for these reps. What I would like to see, personally, is much more incentive for them to get gas-friendly cars instead of autos like the Equinox. I’m empathetic that these representatives do have to do a lot of driving around their home districts.

  • what’s your point? Why do you want to single them out? Both democrats and republicans do this. In fact Obama has played 100 rounds of golf in office – each time he rents out the entire course for 8 hours or more. Have any idea how much that costs tax payers? 

  • Station44025

    The point is these clowns love government subsidies as long as they are receiving them. Screw everyone else.

  • Anonymous

    Evan White: the issue is the platform the individuals run on.  Obama isn’t running on a platform of fiscal restraint.  It’s sort of like republican congressmen who vote against gay rights bills who turn out to be gay themselves.  It’s hypocritical.  If a Democrat who votes in favor of gay rights comes out of the closet, it isn’t hypocritical.

  • eech1234: Hypocritical? HYPOCRITICAL? : kind of like somebody who ousted somebody else for sending jobs off shore (when A. it wasn’t his job to “create jobs” and B. he wasn’t even working at the company during said time) then they invest in companies like apple and GE who outsource jobs AND then take campaign contributions from companies that outsource jobs (when it IS your job to “create jobs”)? Does that sound Hypocritical to you? It does to me. “Obama isn’t running on a platform of fiscal restraint.” – Yes we all Know that to be true. He spends our tax dollars as if it were monopoly money. 

  • Mig

    Evan White: “kind of like somebody who ousted somebody else for sending jobs off
    shore (when A. it wasn’t his job to “create jobs” and B. he wasn’t even
    working at the company during said time”

    What are you saying?  Who ousted who?  In case you didn’t realize this article is about use of taxpayer money on what would seem to be an unnecessary or unnecessarily high expense, particularly for folks who have a big problem unnecessarily using taxpayer money.  Your post does little – actually nothing – to address this seemingly inherent contradiction.  Want to give it another try?

  • ceausescu

    I think the deficit hawks need to read this.  A cut in US deficits will benefit no one except the banks, who we will pay an extra $550 billion per year by 2020 as a result of reducing the deficit to 3% from the current 8% level.  Interest paid as a percentage of GDP will also rise.  I guess for some it is better if we pay the banks more than to pay taxes.


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