In the House, you can tell a member by his or her financial disclosure form -- at least to some degree.
Rep. Andrew Jacobs Jr. (D-Ind.) appreciates man's best friend, and his own, for that matter. He listed his pet great Dane pup, "Friend," as a "priceless" asset, and noted that the dog was a "housebroken (non-liquid asset)."
Rep. Lynn M. Martin (R-Ill.) plays London Bridge. She attended the American Contract Bridge League Parliament-Congress bridge match in London, and was reimbursed for transportation, food and lodging, according to her disclosure form.
Rep. Nick J. Rahall II (D-W.Va.) is into disclosure, really into it. His report was 186 pages thick. When asked how much Rahall paid an accountant to prepare all that paper work, press secretary Jerry Burkot responded: "Are you ready? He does it himself, as far as I know."
Rep. Gus Savage (D-Ill.) apparently does it himself, too. Savage's report was hand-printed, reported the receipt of four honoraria and answered all other questions regarding assets, transactions, holdings, gifts, liabilities, expense reimbursements and board positions with a single word: "None."
The four reports were among more than 400 released yesterday by House officials under the Ethics in Government Act. The reports, due on May 15, are the annual Capitol Hill registry of who received what from whom, including speaking fees.
In addition to listing the source of each honorarium and whether it was kept or given to charity, the members must report free trips and gifts received, list the sources and amounts of other income and provide a profile of their relative financial health in terms of assets and liabilities.
In 1981, with many members complaining that their congressional salaries were too low, the House raised the amount of honoraria funds that members could keep, from 15 percent of the annual salary to 30 percent.
Last year, that salary was about $75,000. That meant members could retain approximately $22,500. The rest had to be given to charity.
In all, House members received $4.6 million in honoraria last year, approximately 31 percent more than the $3.5 million received in 1984, according to a compilation by Common Cause, the self-styled citizens lobby.
On average, each member raised about $10,955 in honoraria, but some did far better than others. Members of the Ways and Means Committee, the tax-law writers, averaged $28,399 -- considerably more than members who held leadership positions in both parties or headed committees. That group averaged $24,715, Common Cause said.
Speaker Thomas P. (Tip) O'Neill Jr. (D-Mass.), the king of Capitol Hill on the House side, raised $88,000 in honoraria. But Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Rostenkowski did better. He raised $137,500 in honoraria -- first place among all House members.
Others ranked in the top 10 by Common Cause were Rep. Willis D. Gradison Jr. (R-Ohio), $62,700; Rep. Tony Coelho (D-Calif.), $60,100; Rep. Jack F. Kemp (R-N.Y.), $54,235; Minority Leader Robert H. Michel (R-Ill.), $49,735; Rep. Bill Frenzel (R-Minn.), $48,500; Rep. Dick Cheney (R-Wyo.), $47,950; Rep. Fortney H. (Pete) Stark Jr. (D-Calif.), $47,800 and Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), $41,753.
Most of those in the top 10 gave charities sufficient amounts to drop them below the $22,500 ceiling. Third-ranked Gradison gave all of his funds to charitable causes.
Only two of every nine House members reported receiving the maximum amounts of honoraria or more. By contrast, two of every three members of the Senate received the maximum amounts. Senate reports were released Monday.
The reports indicated that many members received several honoraria from firms and organizations with obvious interests in the committees on which those members served either as chairman or ranking minority member.
Rep. E (Kika) de la Garza (D-Tex.) is chairman of the House Agriculture Committee. His report listed speaking fee receipts of $35,000, including payments from the National Milk Producers Federation, Virginia-Carolina Peanut Membership, National Cotton Council, National Farmers Union, Virgina State Dairyman's Association, California Beet Growers, National Pork Producers Council, the United Egg Producers and the Fertilizer Institute.
Rep. William L. Dickinson (R-Ala.), ranking minority member of the Armed Services Committee, listed $26,000 in honoraria, including funds from such defense contractors as Boeing Co., Rockwell International Corp., General Electric Co., Lockheed Corp. and the Pratt & Whitney and Sikorsky Aircraft divisions of United Technologies.
Among the gifts listed, the reports showed that several members received golfing equipment, while Rep. Bill Chappell (D-Fla.) was given season baseball tickets to American and National league games and a guest pass to Walt Disney World in Orlando.
Rep. Robert Garcia (D-N.Y.) reported that his wife was lent three dresses valued at about $4,300. A Garcia aide said yesterday that the dresses would be returned. Garments draped both sides of the aisle, however. House Minority Whip Trent Lott (R-Miss.) said he had received $1,200 in clothing.