Statement of Disbursements


The Statement of Disbursements (SOD) is a quarterly public report of all receipts and expenditures for U.S. House of Representatives Members, Committees, Leadership, Officers and Offices. The House has been required by law to publish the SOD since 1964.

The Chief Administrative Officer of the House publishes the SOD within 60 days of the end of each calendar year quarter (January–March, April–June, July–September and October–December).

Since 2009 the SOD has been published online to increase governmental transparency and accountability.

As a result of a new House financial system, all SODs from the fourth quarter of 2010 onward will display new transaction codes while maintaining the same data transparency as before. These codes (AP for Accounts Payable; AR for Accounts Receivable and GL for General Ledger) will replace all previously used SOD transaction codes.

The SOD also includes the individual budgets or Member Representational Allowances (MRAs) for Members of Congress and information on the Member's Mass Mailings.

Prior to the SOD’s online publication, these expenses had been available to the public only in printed three-volume sets. These sets are still distributed by the Government Printing Office to all Federal Depository Libraries across the United States. Previous editions are available on microfiche in the Legislative Resource Center under the auspice of the Office of the Clerk.

Each Congressional year Members are given an MRA to run their Washington, DC and District Offices. The Member budgets for 2010 range from $1.4 to $2.0 million, with the exception of Members occupying “leadership” positions. The Committee on House Administration (CHA), the oversight Committee that determines how the House is run and establishes all of the rules under which lawmakers operate their offices, uses a standard formula to determine these budgets.

Because of the procedural complexity inherent in balancing hundreds of Congressional budgets, the SOD document is not easy to read. The House's Office of Financial Counseling processes, on average, over 4000 expenses per week. The process generally works as follows:

A vendor may bill an office for goods and/or services, at which time the office's Financial Administrator will prepare a voucher and provide supporting documentation or an employee in a Member's office purchases a good or service, adhering to the rules laid out by the CHA in the Member's Congressional Handbook. The process generally looks like this:

  • That employee turns in an invoice or receipt to the person who handles the books in the Member's Office;
  • That person fills out a voucher, which is a document used to request either a vendor's invoice be paid or a payment be made to an employee as a reimbursement for personal money being used to purchase business-related goods or services;
  • The voucher, along with the receipt or the invoice, are then sent to the Office of Financial Counseling for processing;
  • There, the expense is evaluated to make sure it does not violate any of the rules regarding spending as detailed in the Member's Congressional Handbook;
  • Once the expense is deemed legitimate, the voucher is processed and a payment is issued to either the employee or the vendor out of the Member's MRA;
  • Payments are then assigned a numeric reference number used to (internally) trace the transaction and given a Budget Object Code (BOC) describing the nature of the expense (i.e. airfare provided by AAA Airlines would be generally described as Commercial Travel).

It is important to understand information can be easily misinterpreted in the SOD. Some expenses are consolidated by the time they are put on the SOD, in some cases to achieve uniformity. For example, a Commercial Travel expense for $10,000 does not necessarily describe just one trip taken by one person but could cover several employees in the same office.

The SOD covers several timelines: the Calendar Year (CY), Fiscal Year (FY) and Legislative year (LY). It is produced for each quarter of a calendar year from January 1 through December 31 of a given year. House office budgets and expenditures contained in the SOD are maintained on a fiscal and legislative year basis. The House receives an appropriation or budget authority on a fiscal year basis and then authorizes funding to all offices. Members of Congress and Special and Select Committees are authorized funding on an LY basis and Leadership, Officers and Other Offices are authorized funding on an FY basis.


Fiscal Year (FY) vs Legislative Year (LY) vs Calendar Year (CY)

Fiscal Year

FY 2009

10/1/2008 - 9/30/2009

FY 2010

10/1/2009 - 9/30/2010

FY 2011

10/1/2010 - 9/30/2011

FY 2012

10/1/2011 - 9/30/2012

Legislative Year

LY 2008

10/1/2008 - 1/2/2008

LY 2009

1/3/2009 -

LY 2009

10/1/2009 - 1/2/2010

LY 2010

1/3/2010 -

LY 2010

10/1/2010 - 1/2/2011

LY 2011

1/3/2011 -

LY 2011

10/1/2011 - 1/2/2012

LY 2012

1/3/2012 -

Calendar Year

CY 2008

10/1/2008 - 12/31/2008

CY 2009

1/1/2009 -

CY 2010

1/1/2010 -

CY 2011

1/1/2011 -

CY 2012

1/1/2012 -

Fiscal Year:
The federal government's fiscal year begins on October 1 and ends on September 30 of the following year. Funding is appropriated or provided to the House on a fiscal year basis.
Legislative Year:
The Legislative Year is the House's 12 month period beginning on January 3 and ending on January 2 of the following year. The LY budget is funded by 2 separate fiscal year appropriations or budget authority. For example, LY08 (1/3/08 – 1/2/09) was funded with FY 2008 (1/3/08 – 9/30/08) and FY 2009 (10/1/08 – 1/2/09) appropriations.
Calendar Year:
The period of a year beginning January 1 through December 31 of a given year.

Before attempting to read the SOD, it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that you read the related Glossary of Terms and Frequently Asked Questions section.