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In a First, Senate Posts Disbursements Online

The Senate published its semiannual account of all salaries, committee expenses and other disbursements online for the first time today.

Though the Secretary of the Senate has since 1823 published statements of its outlays twice a year — one for the period from Oct. 1 to March 31 and another for April 1 to Sept. 30 — it is the first time that digital files are available online.

Starting with the reporting period of April 1, 2011, to Sept. 30, 2011, there are PDF files of the books that have been available from the Government Printing Office in the past.

The text-searchable files, which were required by an amendment to the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act of 2010, will appear on the Senate’s website for each reporting period going forward. The House began making its disbursements available online in the fall of 2009.

The semiannual statements provide details about how the Senate spends its money. For example, during the most recent reporting period, the office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) paid $1,209,144.68 in payroll expenses, the office of Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) spent $652,645.08 on staffers’ salaries and the office of Vice President Joseph Biden (D) wrote paychecks totaling $1,166,435.11.

Other disbursements detailed in the statement include the amount it takes to keep the Senate computer center running for six months and the totals that were spent on inquiries and investigations.

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