Broun’s chief of staff quits amid budgetary debacle

The chief of staff for Rep. Paul BrounPaul Collins BrounHundreds apply to fill Isakson's Senate seat in Georgia Joe Lieberman's son running for Senate in Georgia California lawmaker's chief of staff resigns after indictment MORE (R-Ga.) resigned Monday as sources said the congressman’s office has busted its budget.

J. Aloysius Hogan, Broun’s chief of staff, was in charge of the Member’s Representational Allowance (MRA), which was depleted because of franked mail, according to sources. The franked mail, which was sent to constituents, may have helped Broun in his recent primary win.

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Earlier this month, sources said that Broun’s MRA was so low that the lawmaker would have to cut staff. At the time, Broun’s office said it was unaware of any possible cuts.

In an e-mail sent to some of his colleagues on Tuesday, Hogan wrote that he was leaving Broun’s office but had not yet landed a job: “After a big election victory in our House primary two weeks ago, and having completed a year getting a midterm freshman House member up and running, I am dedicated to moving back to the Senate or to downtown. A one-page version of my résumé is attached. Help from you all would be much appreciated.”

Hogan, who used to work for Sen. Jim InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeOvernight Defense: Trump leaves door open to possible troop increase in Middle East | Putin offers immediate extension of key nuclear treaty Trump leaves door open to possible troop increase in Middle East Pentagon official: 'Possible' more US troops could be deployed to Middle East MORE (R-Okla.), confirmed his resignation with The Hill on Tuesday, but declined to comment further on the situation, referring inquires to Broun’s press office.

Broun’s office declined to comment.

This staffing turmoil is politically damaging to Broun, who touts himself as a fiscal conservative. He has co-sponsored bills on balancing the budget and has vowed to rein in federal spending.

The House member’s handbook states that “each member is personally responsible for the payment of any official and representational expenses incurred that exceed the provided MRA.”

If a member exceeds the allocated MRA, the “member shall pay the obligation from personal funds,” the handbook states.

It also adds that a member will be alerted if he or she is projected to overspend the MRA.

According to the Committee on House Administration’s website, members are permitted to spend as much of their official budget on franked mail as they deem necessary. MRA expenses cannot be spent on personal, campaign and/or political expenses.

Jeff Ventura, a spokesman for the House Chief Administrative Officer, said, “Although we have seen MRAs dip this low before, what makes this situation unique is that it went so low so early in the calendar year.”

It was unclear at press time what the office planned to do in order to pay staffers, who could be furloughed if the problem is not resolved quickly.

Broun, a member of the conservative Republican Study Committee, was criticized in the local press by his opponent, Georgia state Rep. Barry Fleming, during the primary for wasting taxpayer funds to send out the mailings.

But despite predictions that the race would be close, Broun trounced Fleming in the conservative district. He is heavily favored to defeat Democrat Bobby Saxon, an Iraq war veteran, in November.

Broun’s campaign is also in debt. As of June 30, he had $194,00 cash on hand and $328,000 in debt, according to CQMoneyLine. Saxon had $31,000 cash on hand and $12,000 of debt.