Democratic incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu (La.) has billed taxpayers over $46,000 to take her staff on retreats since 2011, including a two-day trip to a "luxurious" hotel in Annapolis, Md., according to Senate records analyzed by the Sunlight Foundation.
According to Senate disbursement data, Landrieu took her then-staff of 52 to Annapolis for a "retreat" for three days in late March 2012. The trip cost $14,727.77 in per diems, $348 for transportation, and $565.60 for "staff incidentals," a total of $15,641.37.
The staff stayed at the Loews Hotel, which features "luxurious suites decked out in nautical style," and is described as the "ultimate in Chesapeake Bay lodging." According to the records, staff also attended a training conference during the retreat, which cost $2,871.02 in registration fees.
In 2011, the office retreat was held in Washington, D.C., and New Orleans. Costs to stay at the International House, a hostel in Washington, beginning Feb. 22 totaled $20,124.80, including $18,720.32 for per diems, and $1,404.48 for transportation. Landrieu’s office also spent $2,368 to go to New Orleans on Feb. 24.
Last year the staff stayed in the nation’s capital for their retreat in November. The office billed taxpayers $2,200 for catering and $6,241.40 for per diem expenses, for a total of $8,441.40.
Request for comment from Sen. Landrieu’s office was not returned.
The Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan group dedicated to transparency in government, organized reports released by the secretary of the Senate that document all expenses from Senate offices in recent years.
Overall, Landrieu’s office has spent $8,193,542.67 since April 2011, with most of the spending going towards transportation, per diems, and salaries.
As of March 31, Landrieu employed 47 staffers, costing roughly $1.2 million. The figure does not take into account pay from the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which Landrieu chairs.
Landrieu’s Senate challenger Rep. Bill Cassidy (R., La.) recently criticized the Democrat for showing "disregard for other people’s money" after it was revealed that Landrieu spent $47,000 on taxpayer-funded charter flights last year.