Family Affair

Source: Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), 2012

From the summary:
This report marks the first-ever complete study of how members of the House of Representatives use their positions to benefit themselves and their families. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) undertook a similar study in 2007, but it was not all-inclusive. Expanding on our earlier work, for this 2012 edition we reviewed every sitting member of the House.

CREW’s investigation uncovered 248 members meriting inclusion in this in-depth compilation, which covers the 2008 and 2010 election cycles.
CREW’s key findings:
• 82 members (40 Democrats and 42 Republicans) paid family members through their congressional offices, campaign committees and political action committees (PACs);
• 44 members (20 Democrats and 24 Republicans) have family members who lobby or are employed in government affairs;
• 90 members (42 Democrats and 48 Republicans) have paid a family business, employer, or associated nonprofit;
• 20 members (13 Democrats and 7 Republicans) used their campaign money to contribute to a family member’s political campaign;
• 14 members (6 Democrats and 8 Republicans) charged interest on personal loans they made to their own campaigns;
• 38 members (24 Democrats and 14 Republicans) earmarked to a family business, employer, or associated nonprofit.

There are, of course, members who stand out. Rep. Ron Paul’s campaign (R-TX) paid six relatives salaries or fees, the most of any member. Among those who paid relatives well into the six figures: Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) paid his wife and campaign treasurer $238,438 in salary, Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-MO) paid his sister’s law office $292,557 in fees, and Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA) paid his wife $512,293 to work in his congressional office. Three representatives – Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Ja son Chaffetz (R-UT) and Tim Walz (D-MN) -reimbursed themselves and their wives for babysi tting costs, an expense those without access to campaign funds typically pay out of their own pockets.

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