Sen. William L. Scott (R.-VA.) may be one of the more traveled members of Congress, but he's a penny pincher when it comes to spending the taxpayers' money for operation of his office.
In his nearly five years as a Senator, Scott has returned more than $1.2 million to the U. S. treasury, including $408,737.82, or about 60 per cent of all funds authorized to his office, for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30.
A report released this week by the secretary of the Senate showed that in the six months ending Sept. 30, Scott spent $135,984.11 to run his office: the least among the 100 members of the Senate.
By comparison, Virginia's senior senator, Harry R. Byrd Jr., an independent, spent $207,559 in that period. Maryland's senators, Democrat Paul S. Sarbanes and Republican Charles McC. Mathias, spent $302,210 and $285,192, respectively.
Scott's closest rival for frugality was Sen. Edward Jorinsky (D-Neb.), who spent $143,090. The biggest spender was, like Zorinsky, another freshman, Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.), who sent $524,717. (Each senator is allocated a maximum amount for staff salaries, based on population of the state, so senators from larger states tend to spend more than those from smaller states.)
"No drones and no field men" is how Scott excplained his record. "Some senators feel they need people going around to banks and barber shops asking people what the senator can do for them. Well, we don't do that."
Scott has one secretary assigned to a field office in Richmond. His other 15 staff members work on Capitol Hill.
During a tour of his six-room suite in the Dirksen Senate Office Building this week, Scott noted that his employees have "lots of space, good working conditions." Senate colleagues who have "50 or more people on their payrolls" have got people all crowded together.
"We have fewer people, working harder and paid more," Scott said proudly. In the past, however, there has been a high turnover of employees in Scott's office.
A look at the Senate secretary's report confirms that Scott's highest paid aide, John T. White, is earning $42,418, and four other staffers are paid $24,771 or more. No one on the staffs of Byrd, Sarbanes or Mathias can match White's salary, although a number of employees of other senators are paid more than White.
There are 20 full- and part-time employees on Scott's staff, compared to 27 for Byrd, 59 for Mathias and 76 for Sarbanes.
As for his foreign trips, Scott, who has announced he will not seek re-election next year, said, "I have no intention of taking advantage of the fact that this is my last year in Congress. However, I don't want to foreclose the possibility" of further foreign trips.