05/31/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Todd Tiahrt: GOP Deficit Hawk Blames Staff Salary Hike On Obama

Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.), a loud critic of government spending, has an explanation for the $1 million his office cost taxpayers last year: It's President Obama's fault.

Tiahrt's office payroll jumped 22 percent, or $196,000, in 2009, the Wichita Eagle reports. "We saw that spike with the election of President Obama," Tiahrt's spokesman said. "We had to employ a number of people to answer phone calls."

Maybe so, but the bulk of that extra money went to five people, all of whom are also working on and receiving money from Tiahrt's Senate campaign. Four of those five are members of his "campaign leadership team."

Tiarht staffers are "very loyal," the spokesman said by way of further explanation. Tiahrt ought to hope so: He's responded to public outcry against the increased spending by freezing all his employees' pay for 2010, his spokesman said.