MKs spent their connection with voters budgets in 2013 on a wide range of things, from thousands of shekels on “light refreshments” to renting external offices and taking language lessons.
The records released on Thursday showed that MK Avraham Michaeli (Shas) was the biggest spender, with expenses reaching NIS 71,908 without going beyond his budget, though NIS 20,483 of that was left over from 2012.
None of the MKs who spent no money in 2013 were reelected in the January 2013 national election. Kadima MK Shlomo Molla, however, managed to spend NIS 20,595, of the taxpayers’ money in the 23 days before he was voted out of the legislature.
Most of the items under the “connection with voters” rubric are things such as office supplies, computers, cellphones and printing fees, but some stand out.
Several MKs had trouble keeping up with the Start-Up Nation and continued to spend thousands on beepers.
MK Ya’acov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) spent NIS 2,685, while Michaeli’s beeper cost the taxpayers NIS 2,190, Knesset Finance Committee chairman Nissan Slomiansky (Bayit Yehudi) spent NIS 2,216 and presidential candidate MK Reuven Rivlin (Likud Beytenu) spent NIS 1,067.
Another presidential candidate, MK Binyamin Ben- Eliezer, bought three cellphones in 2013, racking up expenses of over NIS 10,000.
Computers came at a wide range of prices, with Justice Minister Tzipi Livni spending around NIS 5,000 on two and Tourism Minister Uzi Landau spending nearly three times as much on the same thing.
MK Merav Michaeli (Labor) invested heavily on her website and social media presence, NIS 27,435 to be exact, while MK Omer Bar-Lev of the same party took the more old-fashioned tack, spending over NIS 40,000 on printing and publications.
No haredi (ultra-Orthodox) MKs spent money on websites and social media, though Shas chairman Arye Deri and MK Eli Yishai of his party have Twitter and Facebook accounts.
The “light refreshments” item brought some not-solight expenses for MK Pnina Tamnu-Shata (Yesh Atid) at NIS 6,399 and MK Nachman Shai (Labor), 8,103. Shai also spent over NIS 2,000 on rides to and from Ben-Gurion Airport.
Several MKs sought to learn languages, including Deputy Interior Minister Faina Kirschenbaum (Likud Beytenu) who spent NIS 5,111.
Only Likud MKs spent their connection with voters budget on conferences. Leading the pack were Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar shelling out NIS 16,000 and Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom spending NIS 12,312 on pre-Rosh Hashana events in Tel Aviv last year.
The biggest expenditures for many MKs were extra-parliamentary offices. MK Menahem Eliezer Moses (UTJ) spent the most on office rent – NIS 45,000 – followed by MK Yisrael Eichler (UTJ ) whose rent came to NIS 36,000 and MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List- Ta’al) came in third place with NIS 35,225.
Extra-parliamentary offices were particularly popular with Arab MKs, all of whom have one except for Druse Likud Beytenu MK Hamad Amar.