Nov 11, 2014 · 1 minute

We all know Congresspeople spend a ton of cash. In fact, since 1998, Congressional spending on elections has nearly doubled, thanks in part to the controversial Citizens United Supreme Court ruling, which struck down spending limits for corporations and other organizations.

But while spending finally began to plateau during this past midterm election, there's one luxury Congress is dropping more cash on than ever before: Car rides. And it's all thanks to Uber.

According to a report from consulting firm Hamilton Place Strategies, the number of "short" rides (where the fare was under $100) taken by Congress during an election cycle increased from 2,900 to 4,600 between 2012 and 2014. In 2012, only 100 of these rides were booked via Uber, while in 2014 that number ballooned to 2,800. And while Uber did take away business from traditional cabs, it also increased the overall market size, with Congress spending $112,000 on rides in 2014, compared to only $72,000 in 2012.

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The report notes that there are possible regulatory implications here, as the people making the laws governing Uber are now also consumers of the product. That said, it also suggests the effect may be minimal:

"Members of Congress represent only a small portion of the total number of lawmakers across the country. Many of the regulatory decisions in this space are being made at the local level, not in Congress."

The report also theorizes that while Congress pays for far more rides since the advent of Uber, that's not necessarily an indicator of frivolous spending. It's possible that Uber has freed up aides who would otherwise be driving Congresspeople around to accomplish other tasks.

In any case, one thing's for certain: DC pols love Uber, as consumers at least. And if ridesharing ever becomes a subject of significant debate at the federal level, this slice of Uber's consumer base could go a long way.

[Illustration by Brad Jonas]