Majority of Lawmakers Funnel Money to Families

Watchdog group issues report detailing litany of financial benefits
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 22, 2012 1:14 PM CDT
Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas speaks at the University of Missouri, Thursday, March 15, 2012, in Columbia, Mo.   (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

(Newser) – Having an uncle in Congress is apparently a pretty sweet gig. More than half of the lawmakers in Congress have bestowed some kind of financial boon on their families, according to the Citizens for Responsibilities and Ethics in Washington, which has released a 346-page report that the New York Times calls an “extraordinary compendium of creative accounting, self-interested budgeting, and generous expense reimbursements.” While none of it appears to be outright illegal, CREW thinks a lot of it is ethically questionable.

Ron Paul, for instance, has paid out more than $300,000 in salaries to his daughter, brother, grandson, daughter's mother-in-law, granddaughter, and grandson-in-law. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, a Texas Democrat, has paid out almost $600,000 in reimbursements to himself or his family. Forty-four lawmakers have family members who are registered lobbyists. The list goes on. In all, 248 House members are called to task, including 105 Democrats and 143 Republicans. “If donors really understood where their money is going, I think they would be aghast,” CREW's executive director says.

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