Rep. Charles Djou has painted himself as a fiscal conservative opposed to government spending. But he spent more than $156,000 to communicate with his constituents in his first 37 days in office — that’s more, on average, than anyone else in the House of Representatives.

A Civil Beat analysis of the data found in the Statement of Disbursements, a 3,464-page report [pdf] on congressional spending, found that Djou ranked in the top 20 representatives — the top 5 percent — in five different metrics based on the distribution of mass communications.

Because Djou sent his taxpayer-funded communications during his first 37 days in office, he spent more per day than anybody else in the U.S. House of Representatives. The vast majority of the other 440 reps included in the report had a full 90-day window.

Name Cost Per Day Rank
Djou, Charles $4,221.73 1
Lee, Christopher $3,008.50 2
Murphy, Scott $2,673.80 3
Cao, “Joseph” $2,668.89 4
Kagen, Steve $2,418.78 5
Perlmutter, Ed $2,377.38 6
Klein, Ron $2,216.22 7
Lowey, Nita $2,192.51 8
Rodriguez, Ciro $2,132.01 9
McCarthy, Carolyn $2,131.01 10
Schauer, Mark $2,074.71 11
Kosmas, Suzanne $1,959.55 12
Melancon, Charlie $1,949.43 13
Buchanan, Vern $1,914.66 14
Bishop, Timothy $1,912.83 15
Owens, William $1,851.80 16
Pierluisi, Pedro $1,850.60 17
Clarke, Yvette $1,822.55 18
Giffords, Gabrielle $1,727.54 19
Kirkpatrick, Ann $1,695.60 20

Source: U.S. House Statement of Disbursements/Civil Beat Analysis

Djou spent more than $156,000 total in those 37 days, squeezing into the top 20 despite his truncated timetable.

Name Total Cost Rank
Lee, Christopher $273,773.92 1
Murphy, Scott $243,316.14 2
Cao, “Joseph” $242,868.73 3
Kagen, Steve $220,109.38 4
Perlmutter, Ed $216,341.33 5
Klein, Ron $201,676.35 6
Lowey, Nita $199,518.14 7
Rodriguez, Ciro $194,012.52 8
McCarthy, Carolyn $193,921.72 9
Schauer, Mark $188,798.22 10
Kosmas, Suzanne $178,318.91 11
Melancon, Charlie $177,398.27 12
Buchanan, Vern $174,234.04 13
Bishop, Timothy $174,067.32 14
Owens, William $168,513.42 15
Pierluisi, Pedro $168,404.44 16
Clarke, Yvette $165,852.26 17
Giffords, Gabrielle $157,206.03 18
Djou, Charles $156,203.96 19
Kirkpatrick, Ann $154,299.27 20
Average of all 441 $37,369.53

Source: U.S. House Statement of Disbursements/Civil Beat Analysis

Djou’s spending came up during debates against Colleen Hanabusa last week. Civil Beat’s Robert Brown fact-checked her claim that Djou sent four fliers in his first 23 days in Congress. That claim was determined to be true.

In fact, Djou distributed, on average, 4.19 communications to each household in his district during his first month-plus in office. That ranked higher than all but 14 reps.

Name No. Per Household Rank
Roskam, Peter 28.68 1
Neugebauer, Randy 19.31 2
Fleming, John 10.81 3
Lee, Christopher 9.41 4
Murphy, Scott 7.99 5
Gohmert, Louie 6.60 6
Christensen, Donna 6.12 7
Lowey, Nita 5.82 8
Bachmann, Michele 5.35 9
Yarmuth, John 5.23 10
Cao, “Joseph” 4.67 11
Smith, Adrian 4.62 12
Sessions, Pete 4.50 13
Buchanan, Vern 4.41 14
Djou, Charles 4.19 15
Sablan, Gregorio 4.07 16
Conaway, Michael 3.72 17
Melancon, Charlie 3.58 18
Space, Zackary 3.44 19
Bean, Melissa 3.37 20

Source: U.S. House Statement of Disbursements/Civil Beat Analysis

Djou’s office sent out more than 1 million total communications, enough to rank 17th in the House of Representatives.

Name Total Distributed Rank
Roskam, Peter 7,292,091 1
Neugebauer, Randy 5,797,135 2
Fleming, John 3,338,840 3
Lee, Christopher 2,695,050 4
Murphy, Scott 2,647,399 5
Gohmert, Louie 2,129,653 6
Buchanan, Vern 1,859,380 7
Yarmuth, John 1,779,037 8
Bachmann, Michele 1,580,396 9
Lowey, Nita 1,471,660 10
Brown-Waite, Ginny 1,358,554 11
Sessions, Pete 1,273,000 12
Smith, Adrian 1,209,312 13
Conaway, Michael 1,178,998 14
Pierluisi, Pedro 1,141,000 15
Cao, “Joseph” 1,110,037 16
Djou, Charles 1,031,402 17
Bean, Melissa 995,472 18
Melancon, Charlie 988,203 19
Space, Zackary 987,580 20
Average of all 441 262,416

Source: U.S. House Statement of Disbursements/Civil Beat Analysis

His spending came to 64 cents per household in his congressional district. Just nine reps spent more per household.

Name Cost Per Household Rank
Sablan, Gregorio $2.49 1
Cao, “Joseph” $1.02 2
Lee, Christopher $0.96 3
McCarthy, Carolyn $0.92 4
Clarke, Yvette $0.84 5
Lowey, Nita $0.79 6
Perlmutter, Ed $0.73 7
Murphy, Scott $0.73 8
Kagen, Steve $0.67 9
Melancon, Charlie $0.64 10
Schauer, Mark $0.64 11
Djou, Charles $0.64 12
Rodriguez, Ciro $0.62 13
Bishop, Timothy $0.58 14
Owens, William $0.56 15
Klein, Ron $0.52 16
Space, Zackary $0.52 17
Murphy, Patrick $0.50 18
Kosmas, Suzanne $0.49 19
Hall, John $0.49 20

Source: U.S. House Statement of Disbursements/Civil Beat Analysis

Last month, I wrote that Rep. Charles Djou had been thrifty his first month on the job.

At first blush, the Statement of Disbursements shows that after taking office in late May, Djou spent only $52,000 on staff salaries, supplies, printing, utilities, rent and equipment. The report covered the second quarter, from April 1 through June 30.

The report included a line item for “franking” — communications sent to constituents through the U.S. Postal Service on the taxpayers’ dime — for some other representatives, but not for Djou.

However, Honolulu’s rep did run up a huge tab on another, separate category of mass communications.

The section of the Statement of Disbursements covering mass mailings and communications includes “the number and
costs (incurred and or obligated) of mass mailings distributed via USPS and/or mass communications distributed via any other means.”

“A mass mailing or communication is any unsolicited mailing or communication of substantially identical content distributed to 500 or more persons, regardless of media, over the course of the Legislative Year,” the report explains.

It’s possible that Djou’s communications did not qualify as “franking” — that line item that was excluded from the summary of his office’s expenditures — because they weren’t sent through the mail. For example, they could have been robocalls.

It’s also possible that they didn’t show up because the costs had only been obligated and not yet paid. I found out last month that timing could be a factor in whether expenditures made the second-quarter report.

Messages left for the Committee on House Administration seeking an explanation were not returned.

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