TLP: Ethics Group Gets Pissy About Congressional Sleeping Habits
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.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."
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.”
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.