Turns out it pays to serve in Congress — if you’re the lawmaker’s son, grandson, niece or cousin.
A new report by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)
found “an extraordinary compendium of creative accounting,
self-interested budgeting and generous expense reimbursements” by
lawmakers in the last two election cycles.
The “Family Affair” report “highlights
common practices that translate into tens of millions of dollars in
payments to relatives or the lawmakers themselves,” reports Eric Lipton in The New York Times.
As Lipton notes, there are hundreds of examples to choose from — and
most of these practices do not appear to violate any laws or House
ethics rules. Here are some examples:
— Rep. Ron Paul
(R-Texas), a GOP presidential hopeful, paid more than $300,000 in
salaries or fees to his daughter, brother, grandson, daughter’s
mother-in-law, granddaughter and grandson-in-law, the report said. (Paul
spokesman Jesse Benton told the Times: “Any implication that there is
anything inappropriate is wildly off base.”)
— Rep. Rubén Hinojosa (D-Texas) paid two grandnieces and a son-in-law
with his re-election campaign funds and contributed money from his
campaign account to his daughter’s election bid for county clerk in
— Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) has two daughters who have worked in
Washington as lobbyists, one for General Motors, the other for the
chemical giant Monsanto. She is one of 44 House lawmakers who have a
relative who is registered to lobby or at least works in government
affairs, the report said.
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