Report lists where Broun funds went

ATHENS, Ga. --- U.S. Rep. Paul Broun is close to running out of money for staff, rent and other expenses, partly because he spent more than half a million dollars sending literature to potential voters in the runup to an election.

Mr. Broun had only $241,000 left at the end of July out of a $1.38 million office budget for 2008, according to federal documents that confirm recent reports about his spending.

But the Athens Republican insisted he will avoid becoming the first congressman to post an end-of-year shortfall and has no plans to close his offices in Athens, Toccoa or Evans.

"My office will finish this year without exceeding its appropriated budget," Mr. Broun said in a written statement. "In fact, we expect to actually return some money to hardworking American taxpayers."

But Mr. Broun's Democratic opponent, Bobby Saxon, said he does not see how Mr. Broun can continue to keep offices and staff in the northeast Georgia congressional district.

"To me, it's a huge deal, because it's all about constituent services," Mr. Saxon said.

Even if Mr. Broun cuts out the $562,000 he spent on printing and mailing costs in the first half of the year, he will have to slash spending by more than half to make ends meet.

Mr. Broun spent $406,000 on salaries and benefits; $54,000 on rent and bills; $24,000 on travel; $17,000 on equipment; $16,000 on supplies; and $62,000 on "other services" in the first half of 2008, according to the House Statement of Disbursements, a quarterly document listing congressmen's office expenses.

Those expenses total $577,000, more than twice the amount available to Mr. Broun for the second half of the year.

If Mr. Broun's office had not paid for the printing and mailing, he would be on pace to finish the year more than $200,000 under budget.

Mr. Broun said he plans to make "spending revisions" but did not give specifics, and spokesman Brian Partridge declined to comment.

Some staffers already have transferred to his re-election campaign, where they are paid with funds raised from political donors.

Mr. Broun seemed to blame former Chief of Staff Aloysius Hogan, who resigned last month, for mismanaging funds, although he did not mention Mr. Hogan by name.

"In connection with office operations, some management decisions were discovered that had adversely affected the budget," Mr. Broun wrote in an e-mail to the Athens Banner-Herald.

"As your Congressman, I accept the ultimate responsibility. I have already taken necessary actions to make sure that from this point forward there will not be a repeat of those issues. Even now, I am gathering and reconciling all of my office's financial data and enacting a budget that allows me and my staff to serve the people with excellence."