While many corporate expense accounts have been squeezed because of the economy, the Chicago City Council has used taxpayer-funded dollars for car leases, parking and hiring friends and relatives, according to a database published by the Chicago Tribune.
In 2008, the expense allowance more than doubled from $33,280 to $73, 270. The Tribune reports that half of the city's 50 alderman spent in excess of $70,000 last year. The only rules required by the City of Chicago municipal code is that alderman are asked to make sure their spending is legal, otherwise it is at the discretion of the members.
The numbers according to the Trib: $132, 788 on automobile leases, $28,186 on downtown parking and $11,276 on bottled water.
Thenewspaper's analysis found 20 aldermen used some of the money for vehicle leases, 14 paid for parking leases downtown and three hired relatives to work for them.