This watchdog — Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) – is dedicated to holding public officials accountable for their actions. And this time it has sounded an alarm on the lawmakers who sleep in offices.
The group says that the members of Congress who sleep in their offices are actually violating House rules. In a letter to the Office of Congressional Ethics, CREW has thus asked if the such members are also violating tax law by failing to report lodging as a taxable fringe benefit.
CREW swung into action when it came to know that at least 33 members – 26 Republicans and 7 Democrats – had turned their offices into dorm rooms.
Its Executive Director Melanie Sloan wondered how these lawmakers can convert office buildings into dorms or frat houses. “If members didn’t want to find housing in Washington, they shouldn’t have run for Congress in the first place.”
Superintendent of House office buildings Bill Weidemeyer has already said that members sleeping in their offices add burden to the housekeeping staff and make building maintenance more difficult.
“Living in a House office violates the prohibition on using taxpayer resources for anything other than the performance of official duties. The Members’ Handbook states that the Member Representational Allowance may not be used for personal expenses,” CREW said, adding: “…living in a House office clearly is not a condition of serving in Congress, members must pay taxes for imputed income based on the fair market value of their lodging. If legislators are going to treat their offices as dorm rooms, at the very least they should pay the appropriate taxes.”
Then, should the Americans now expect Congress members to follow tax laws just like everyone else!