CREW to congressmen: Get a room!

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Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) wants members of Congress to get their mattresses out of Capitol offices and invest in actual lodging.

Thursday CREW sent a letter to the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) requesting that they investigate whether congressmen who spend the night in their offices are violating House rules as well as tax law by failing to report it as a taxable benefit.

“House office buildings are not dorms or frat houses,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. “If members didn’t want to find housing in Washington, they shouldn’t have run for Congress in the first place.”

The CREW letter accuses these members of being in violation of the House Ethics Manual, which states, “official resources of the House must, as a general rule, be used for the performance of official business of the House.”

CREW says that the members also could be in violation of the tax code.

“The IRS treats lodging as a taxable fringe benefit unless it is offered on the employer’s business premises, is for the employer’s convenience, and is required as a condition of employment. As 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,” the group charges.

CREW adds that with members in their offices at all hours, superintendent of House office buildings Bill Weidemeyer says that it puts an added burden on the maintenance staff.

“By using official resources for personal use, by failing to pay taxes on imputed income and by interfering with House upkeep, members of Congress who reside in their offices are not acting in a manner that reflects credibility on the House,” the letter reads.

Members who sleep in their offices say they do it to save both themselves and their constituents money.

This past election season during his run for governor, former Michigan Republican Rep. Pete Hoekstra highlighted the fact that he slept in his office for 18 years to demonstrate his budget cutting, tight belt credentials.

“I didn’t go to Washington to get comfortable,” he said in his web ad while sitting on a couch in pajamas.” In D.C. I am watching your pennies and mine, that’s why Newt Gingrich said ‘Pete, you could make a penny squeal.'”

According to CREW, at least 33 members — 26 Republicans and 7 Democrats — use their offices as their bedrooms.

Below is a list of members that reside in their D.C. office:

Dan Boren (D-OK)

John Carney (D-DE)

Steve Chabot (R-OH)

Jason Chaffetz (R-UT)

Hansen Clarke (D-MI)

Sean Duffy (R-WI)

Stephen Fincher (R-TN)

Jeff Flake (R-AZ)

Chris Gibson (R-NY)

Tim Griffin (R-AR

Paul Gosar (R-AZ)

Trey Gowdy (R-SC)

Morgan Griffith (R-VA)

Luis Guittierez (D-IL)

Richard Hanna (R-NY)

Joe Heck (R-NV)

Bill Huizenga (R-MI)

Bill Johnson (R-OH)

James Lankford (R-OK)

Dan Lipinski (D-IL)

Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)

Patrick Meehan (R-PA)

Ben Quayle (R-AZ)

Mike Quigley (D-IL)

Todd Rokita (R-IN)

Bobby Rush (D-IL)

Paul Ryan (R-WI)

David Schweikert (R-AZ)

Steve Stivers (R-OH)

John Sullivan (R-OK)

Tim Walberg (R-MI)

Joe Walsh (R-IL)

Todd Young (R-IN)

Caroline May