It seems to be the controversy of the day – members of Congress spending the night in their offices without declaring it on their taxes, and therefore receiving an illegal benefit from taxpayers.
Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan sleeps in his office when Congress is in session. He appeared on Thursday morning’s “Morning Joe” on MSNBC and explained why.
“I’m not as tall as Willie [Geist], but I’m kind of tall, so I can’t fit on my couch,” Ryan said. “So I have a cot. I’ve been doing this for years. Look, to me, it just made sense. I work to about midnight every night, get up at 6:00, go to the gym, shower there. So, what’s the point? I just figured a cot made more sense to me because all I do here in Washington is work. When I’m not voting, I’m at home in Janesville with my family and talking to my constituents.”
“Morning Joe” co-host Joe Scarborough, a four-term member of Congress, rejected that the practice is illicit, calling it “a made-up controversy.”
“It’s such a made-up controversy,” Scarborough said. “You know just like Paul, my first year up there I got a place in northern Virginia and my family was back in the district. And I realized, I started work at 7:00, stopped working at 11:00 at night and then I would drive home to sleep in Virginia for like three or four hours. So I was like, I might as well just stay here and I actually, I know it sounds like, crazy, but I actually got even more work done, because I’d wake up at 5:30. And the computer was there, I would start working. I mean, Paul, I swear I was 50 percent more effective being — you just live your work. And since your family’s at home, that allows you when you get home to be with them more. “
On Wednesday night, Scarborough’s colleague, “The Last Word” host Lawrence O’Donnell spoke vociferously against Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz for engaging in the same practice of using his office as a place to sleep.