A Herald and Globe story about our senator before he became a media darling:
Scott Brown banks thousands in per-diems
Boston Herald By Jessica Van Sack
Tuesday, January 5, 2010 – Updated 3 years ago
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown – who called for a federal wage freeze yesterday – has cashed in on more than 130 taxpayer-funded daily travel allowances to the State House this year, a Herald review shows.
Brown ranks ninth among state senators who took so-called “per diems” last year, the review shows, even as he raked in some $80,000 from his private law practice and also pocketed an extra $15,000 in a taxpayer-funded stipend as an assistant minority whip.
The politics of free rides
Boston Globe B.1 Metro
May 17, 2009
You have to wonder how our lawmakers can look at themselves in the mirror sometimes.
Lately, some of them have been positively apoplectic about a state program to give welfare recipients donated cars so they can get to paying jobs. The program includes insurance and AAA membership for one year, and has cost the state $6,000 for each of the 180 people with transportation problems who have qualified. Outrageous, legislators shrieked. Imagine giving welfare recipients a free ride – literally – especially in these difficult times.
So on Friday, senators filed two budget amendments to nix the $400,000 free car program. The House is considering following suit.
Here’s where we get to the mirror part. You see, legislators have their own free ride program. It’s called a per diem, and it’s a scam. And that particular welfare giveaway isn’t going anywhere.
How it works: In addition to their salaries, our lawmakers get paid for traveling to work. The farther they drive to get to the State House, the more we give them. Boston legislators get 10 bucks a day. The ones who live in Western Mass. get $90 a day. Not every legislator takes them, but last year, those who did racked up a whopping $534,400 in per diems, according to documents from the Treasurer’s office. This year they have claimed $151,000.
Naturally, the men most outraged about the car giveaways have been lining up for their own windfalls.
Let’s take Scott Brown, for example. First among huffers and puffers, the Republican senator authored one of the amendments to abolish the program. Yet Brown collected $3,926 in per diems in 2008 – in addition to his $76,400 salary. And he’s on track to take almost as much this year: As of May 1, he had claimed $1,378 for making the journey to Beacon Hill from Wrentham.