Rep. Tim Scott, however, seems to have done the opposite despite his Tea Party pledge, even outspending his predecessor who was often criticized for unnecessary expenses such as franking.
And one particular category of spending increase by Scott could imply political favors and cronyism, another point that conservative and liberal voters alike continue to speak against.
The “Statement of Disbursements of the House” for the end of 2011 shows Scott spent roughly $1.272 million for operation of his offices, approximately four percent more than Rep. Henry Brown spent in 2010.
Making the comparison stand out further, Brown’s 2010 totals included additional one-time expenses, such as bonuses to staff upon the close of his office as he stepped down after five terms and 10 years. When compared to Brown’s more ordinary expenses from 2009,which didn’t include that same rate of bonuses, Scott outspent his predecessor by almost $100,000 in just his first year in congress.
One very direct category of spending comparison between Brown and Scott is rent on local offices in the 1st Congressional District.
In 2010 Rep. Brown paid $2,700.33 every month for a district office in North Charleston, and another $750 a month for a small Myrtle Beach office.
In 2011, though, Scott spent almost 10 percent more on district offices, including the same one used by Brown in Myrtle Beach.
That Myrtle Beach property is owned by Republican state Rep. Alan Clemmons, a self-declared friend and political ally of Brown’s, insinuating that Brown allowed his taxpayer-funded expense account to pay for political favors.
Beginning in January 2011, right after he took over Brown’s spot in Congress, Scott began paying more than Brown did for the same office in the previous month. In the same category of reciprocating political favors, Scott was endorsed by property owner Clemmons in the 2010 primary.
Scott does rent a different Charleston-area office than Brown did, but this one not only costs about 10 percent more than Brown’s ($2,975 a month), but is also owned by yet another South Carolina Republican politician.
Scott’s West Ashley office is owned by state Rep. Bobby Harrell, who operates his own insurance firm from the same property that carries the name "Harrell Square Center." Scott's $2,975 per month rent is paid to Charlotte D. Harrell LLC, the office rental service listed under the name of the state representative’s wife.
Like Clemmons, Harrell endorsed Scott early in the 2010 primary campaign.
Scott’s total office expenses in 2011 were a definite stand-out from other South Carolina representatives, even from the expenses of long-standing Rep. Jim Clyburn.
While Clyburn’s total expenditures in 2011 exceeded Scott’s by approximately $85,000, the 6th Congressional District representative also has more obligations; he sits on more committees than Scott, is required to travel much more than Scott, and is third-ranking party official in the House with more administrative expenses.
Despite the seniority of Clyburn and the staff who have worked for him in his 20 years in the office, Scott spent more on compensation to his rookie personnel. While both have 21 staff members, Scott gave additional bonus pay (“other compensation”) to nine of his personnel at the end of 2011, pushing his office’s total payroll over $1 million. That’s about $24,000 more than Clyburn paid his experienced staff.
Scott also paid himself over $3,000 directly from his office’s budget for the specific expense of “private auto mileage,” a program similar to tax credits for commercial use of a private vehicle, through which did he collect money based on mileage he drives in his own car. Clyburn, however, did not apply for nor receive any such compensation.
None of the other South Carolina representatives spent more, or spent a greater portion of their total allowance (84.72 percent), than Scott, either. The 2011 office costs of the other Republican congressional representatives in the state ranged from $1.064 million/74.35 percent of total allowance from Rep. Mick Mulvaney (Dist. 5) to $1.183 million/82.01 for Dist. 2’s Rep. Joe Wilson.