WASHINGTON — In January 2011, newly elected Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas joined three other Republicans in launching the Senate Tea Party caucus, dedicated to cutting government spending and reducing the federal debt.
That hasn't stopped Moran from spending more from his congressional office budget than any other senator in fiscal 2012, according to Senate financial records. Moran had spent all but $18,000 of his almost $3 million annual office budget through Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.
The numbers are not final because late bills for all senators could arrive for up to two years.
Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri ranked as the third-thriftiest Democrat. She ranked 90th in office spending, having used up 80 percent of her budget.
Her colleague from Missouri, Republican Roy Blunt, ranked 21st of the 100 senators. Blunt spent 95.2 percent of his budget.
The other Kansas senator, Pat Roberts, ranked 33rd. He spent 93.9 percent of his budget.
Moran spends that much because he has to travel back and forth to Kansas to meet his constituents, his spokeswoman, Garrette Silverman, explained in an e-mail.
"Sen. Moran's commitment to staying connected with Kansans is second-to-none," Silverman says. "Much of his resources have been dedicated to flying back to Kansas from Capitol Hill virtually every weekend to have conversations with Kansans and listen to their concerns.
"In fact, he has held 1,000 town halls and visited hundreds of communities. His staff also dedicates their time to traveling the state, attending more than 1,000 events and meetings, and personally serving the 2.8 million Kansans Sen. Moran represents."
Senate spending data bear this out — Moran's travel budget for the year is among the top 10 in the Senate.