I strongly believe that one of Congress’ most important responsibilities is to conduct vigorous oversight to ensure that laws are being faithfully carried out, that taxpayer’s dollars are well spent, and that allegations of abuse are being thoroughly investigated.
I believe Congress must be transparent about its business and I work to provide up to date information on my own activities, office expenditures, and appropriations requests. I keep an online schedule which is updated every day to reflect the day's activities and outline the activities that are confirmed for the days ahead. This week’s schedule, as well as an archive of old schedules, is available here.
Below is my financial disclosure report, a document which details the source, type, amount, and value of my income. This information is filed with the Clerk of the House by all Members of Congress.
The Clerk of the House also keeps records on Member travel and legal expenses. This information is available here.
Information about my campaign fundraising and expenditures is filed with the Federal Election Commission and is available here.
Congressional Office Transparency
Congressional offices are appropriated a certain amount of money each year to operate their offices depending in part on that District’s distance from Washington, D.C. The 12th District amount for 2011 is $1.41 million. This money has to pay for all expenses including staff salaries, office rent, equipment, telephone bills, supplies, mailings, newsletters and travel between Michigan and D.C. There are rules as to what may be spent on official activities and each mailing or email to an audience larger than 500 people must be approved by the bi-partisan Congressional Standards Mailing Franking Commission under the Committee on House Administration.
All expenses for each office, as well as each committee, are available here. To make my office expenses more accessible, I have included my most recent quarterly expense report below.
Rep. Levin’s Fiscal Year 2015 Appropriations Requests
Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution states: “No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law.” Congress makes these funding allocation each year in the 13 annual appropriations bills. In these bills, the House and Senate decide which programs receive funding, and how much, as well as which programs will be reduced.
In the spring of each year, rank-and-file Members of the House have an opportunity to weigh in with the Appropriations Committee on their priorities for program funding. These are not earmarks, which are no longer permitted under House rules, but rather recommendations for funding of specific federal programs at specific levels.
For Fiscal Year 2015, I initiated three program requests: to sustain funding for the Drug Free Communities Program, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and the Commodity Supplemental Food program.
When Democrats gained control of Congress in 2007 we passed a landmark rules package which included provisions to end the tight-knit relationship between lobbyists and lawmakers, bring transparency to lobbyists’ activities, and deny taxpayer-funded pension benefits to Members of Congress convicted of corruption.
Furthermore, the Obama Administration instituted tough new restrictions on the role of lobbyists in the executive branch. This included a rule that political appointees must be two years removed from lobbying on an issue they could be working on for the government.
I welcomed President Obama’s call for a more transparent government. The day after his inauguration President Obama ordered agencies to take affirmative steps to make information public and not simply wait for and respond to FOIA requests. Additionally he has encouraged government agencies to use modern technology to give citizens access to pertinent information. I encourage you to review some of the resources currently available.
- Federal Program Results
- Where Taxpayer Dollars are Spent
- 2013 Financial Report of the US Government
- Federal Data Aggregator
(Updated July 14, 2014)