A supervisor at the House post office has told federal prosecutors that he improperly exchanged postage vouchers from House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Rostenkowski (D-Ill.) for cash, according to sources familiar with the grand jury investigation.
The supervisor, James C. Smith, who has been granted immunity from prosecution, alleged that the cash transactions totaled between $18,000 and $20,000 over the last five years, sources said. House records show that Rostenkowski has submitted postage vouchers totaling more than $24,000 since 1986.
Vouchers are essentially purchase orders drawn on the office accounts of members of Congress and used to buy goods and services for official purposes from various congressional facilities.
Knowingly converting office funds to personal use could constitute a crime, but sources said prosecutors are still seeking to determine if money obtained through the post office was used for personal expenses. If money was used for official office expenses, it could be considered more of a technical infraction.
A spokesman for Rostenkowski said Wednesday that the lawmaker had not received any cash in return for postage vouchers. Rostenkowski was among three House members who received subpoenas three weeks ago for office records.