Some members of Congress enjoy giving holiday gifts, especially when they don’t have to pay for it with their own money. But don’t worry, they aren’t using taxpayer money – just money contributed to their campaigns.
Business is usually good during December at the U.S. Senate Gift Shop, the U.S. House of Representatives Gift Shop, and at the U.S. Capitol Historical Society Gift Shop. Examples of holiday gifts available, such as those with a congressional seal, are mentioned in Roll Call’s article on “Stocking Stuffers Galore in House Gift Shop.”
Many members use campaign funds to make purchases from these shops. Here are a few examples. In November 2011, the campaign committee of former Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Ill., spent $3,430 on Christmas ornaments. Over the 2011 holidays, the campaign committee of Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., purchased $6,779 in Christmas gifts from the House gift shop. In 2012, McClintock’s campaign spent $3,750 for Christmas ornaments for supporters.