According to a recent report by a company that researches congressional data, 13 representatives were blowing through their office budgets during the first quarter of this year at an unsustainable rate.
At the very top of that list is Minnesota’s own Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn.
Hagedorn, who, when last we checked on him, was claiming the “Democrat ‘Black Lives Matter’ Party” is “at war with our country, our beliefs, and western culture,” reportedly spent $570,000, roughly 40 percent of his office’s $1.4 million annual budget, in the first quarter of 2020, according to LegiStorm.
“If Hagedorn continues his spending spree, he will end the year having spent 159.1 percent,” LegiStorm says.
The second-place spender, New York Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, spent roughly 30 percent of his budget during the same time -- or about three-quarters of Hagedorn's total.
A hearty chunk of Hagedorn’s expenses are itemized as printing (roughly $215,000) and so-called (and controverisal, for obvious reasons) "franked mail" (roughly $58,000) to his constituents. As LegiStorm points out, that’s about 19 percent of his entire annual budget… which, again, is somewhat above average. As in: “the highest of any representative.”
How much more? Almost 25 times more: “The average member has spent 0.8 percent of their budgets on mass mailings,” LegiStorm says.
Hagedorn was not immediately available for comment.
Hagedorn, who is married to Republican Party of Minnesota chair Jennifer Carnahan, has typically advocated for the conservative spending practices of their party. He's proud of his work as a congressional staffer on "welfare reform" -- making it harder for people in poverty to get governmennt benefits -- describing the goal as "empowering people, helping them become self-sufficient, not dependent on government."
In one of his first statements after he joined Congress in 2019, Hagedorn explained his opposition to a Democratic bill like this:
"Southern Minnesotans work hard for their money. They don’t deserve to see their tax dollars flow from their pocketbooks to politicians with whom they disagree. Congress needs to rein in spending, not pass a bill that would bust our federal budget."
When not printing and mailing stuff, Hagedorn has also spent some time in the latter half of last year frankly telling a crowded room that he believes people who take their own lives “go to hell,” but not in manmade climate change.
The whole printing and mailing thing may not be that necessary. If you wanted a decent look at a wide swath of Hagedorn’s personal beliefs, you could easily check out his absolutely bananas hot takes from his old days as a conservative blogger, which he still stood behind (holy shit!) as a candidate in 2018.