TLP: Ethics Group Gets Pissy About Congressional Sleeping Habits

Friday, February 11, 2011 , , , 5 Comments

congressional couches
That didn't take long. The Slumber Party Caucus has been called out by the "watchdog" group CREW — Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington — for choosing to bunk in their offices. It was all very cute when the group of mostly newly elected congressman talked up their plans to sleep on cots and couches lest they become too much like, uh, congressmen. Also, they cop to being cheap bastards.

Cute as it is, there's an investigation coming, according to the WSJ:
The dozens of lawmakers who sleep in their offices at night are violating House ethics rules and the federal tax code, according to a letter the left-leaning group sent to the Office of Congressional Ethics this week. They need to find real homes, said the group’s executive director, Melanie Sloan.

House rules allow for “incidental” use of government property for personal reasons, which does not cover using an office for sleeping quarters, the letter reads. Furthermore, if lawmakers are going to sleep in the office, they need to pay taxes on the fair market value of their lodging, Crew says. It puts the value between $1,500 and $2,000 a month.

Besides, Ms. Sloan says, the practices is uncongressional – and unprofessional.

“Members are bragging about it and they are making it out as if they’re the only fiscal conservatives,” she told Washington Wire. “Pretty soon everyone will have to sleep in their offices.”
Also, Sloan wants to know, WTF? "House office buildings are not dorms or frat houses," she said in a news release that names names. "If members didn't want to find housing in Washington, they shouldn't have run for Congress in the first place."

This sort of complaint triggers an investigation, at least until the Office of Congressional Ethics determines whether the House Ethics Committee needs to get involved. I'm all for it becoming a spectacle. Not because I necessarily have a problem with office sleeping — shuffling a few feet from the desk to the couch to crash is kind of the ultimate in lazy, and I'm down. The real fun will come when one of these honorable attention whores decides to show up at a hearing in pajamas, or drags his sleeping bag to a news conference. You know it will happen.

And, hey, if the office sleepers do get bounced, we know there's at least one "Cap Hill area" apartment available immediately. And probably cheap.

The Lazy Paperboy

Some say he’s half man half fish, others say he’s more of a seventy/thirty split. Either way he’s a fishy bastard.


chairmanben said...

Sloths - don't even think about the DC Bunkers either.

My Print Worx takes priority!

W.C. Varones said...

CREW is a bunch of leftist assholes.

Congresspeople owe taxes for imaginary house rentals because they crash in their offices?

Are they going to go around demanding homeless people pay taxes for the value of sleeping on a sidewalk?

There's nothing taxable about NOT renting an apartment. And sleeping on a cot in your office is not a taxable economic benefit when other Congresspeople have the same size offices and simply choose not to sleep there.

This is complete bullshit. These are just partisan hacks trying to score headlines against conservatives.

Funny how they never attack Democrats like this.

ChairmanBen - Don't worry about your bunker; who could sleep with that constant racket you make?

And WCV - Point taken on the CREW orientation. And they actually did tag some Democrats in this one, though the list is heavily tilted toward the GOP. For all the wasted time and effort this little stunt will generate, it does have entertainment value. And maybe at the end of it, we'll have either these poor-mouthing grandstanders told to quit considering public offices their private lodging or the "watchdogs" slapped down and forced to find something really wasteful or unethical to worry about.

tsada kay said...

Mm...pad thai.

wcv said...

More on the CREW clowns here.