Tennessee’s Frugal Freshmen

Republican Reps. Diane Black of Gallatin, Stephen Fincher of Frog Jump, Scott DesJarlais of Jasper and Chuck Fleischmann of Ooltewah have spent a smaller portion of their annual office budgets than their more senior colleagues, according to a Gannett Washington Bureau analysis of records from the first three quarters of the year initially reported by WBIR-TV.
DesJarlais was the most frugal, spending just 47 percent of his $1.41 million budget by Sept. 30.
That fits with the ultra-fiscally conservative image he has crafted this year by voting against deals on to raise the debt ceiling and fund the government for fiscal 2012. While most other Republicans in the delegation favored those compromises, DesJarlais said they didn’t cut enough.
“We tried to run our congressional office the same way that I ran my medical practice — we set a budget and stuck to it,” DesJarlais said. “It was a top priority of mine to ensure that taxpayer dollars were spent in an efficient way, while also making sure that my office had the appropriate resources to serve 4th District constituents.”
…Tennessee’s freshmen spent more on printing and postage than most of the delegation’s more senior members. Black, DesJarlais, Fincher and Fleischmann each spent more than $40,000 to print and send mailings — with Black spending more than $101,000 — while Blackburn, Cooper and Rep. Phil Roe, R-Johnson City, each spent less than $13,000.
The exception is 23-year House veteran Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr., R-Knoxville, who spent $51,120 on mailings and $50,752 on printing.

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