Denver journalist and congressional candidate Ken Fortenberry has released new complaints against U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry, of North Carolinaâ€™s 10th District, in relation to his staff payroll.
Fortenberry sent out a press release to area news media earlier this month claiming that McHenryâ€™s payroll â€œhas increased 6 percent in the first nine months of the year versus the same period a year ago.â€
He cites data recently released on LegiStorm.com, a website that compiles databases of congressional staff salaries and related financial information.
As a challenger in next yearâ€™s Republican primary for McHenryâ€™s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, Fortenberry has previously taken issue with his opponent over his use of funds and taxpayer dollars.
The Times-News reported in November that Fortenberry took the initiative in disseminating information regarding bonuses McHenry gifted to his staff in 2010. According to a LegiStorm.com database, bonuses, designated as â€œother compensation,â€ ranging from $1,250 to $9,168 were delivered to staff members prior to Christmas of that year.
Following Fortenberryâ€™s allegations last month, McHenryâ€™s office released a statement, to which it also referred the Times-News when pressed for comment, saying that its staff salary budget ranked 10th out of the 13 North Carolina congressional offices.
Additionally, it was stated that the officeâ€™s budget had been cut by 11.5 percent in the last two years and that Christmas bonuses are distributed when and if staff cost-cutting measures have resulted in leftover money in the personnel budget.
LegiStorm.com data shows that McHenryâ€™s staff salary expenditures totaled $710,937 in 2006 and $969,225 in 2010.
â€œMr. McHenry likes to call himself a conservative, but the record proves otherwise,â€ Fortenberry stated in his latest release. â€œHe doled out huge taxpayer-funded Christmas bonuses to his staff last year, gets an annual pay increase himself and spent tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars refurbishing his office this year.â€
â€œMr. McHenry needs to get a dose of the real world and walk the conservative walk instead of talking a good game,â€ he concluded..