This week.....the "Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washing" met and asked the Office of Congressional Ethics to check out these politicians who are living mostly out of their offices.
I sat there and scratched my head over this. The jest of the original phase of the story was that around 30-odd Congressmen arrived in January and discovered that it's fairly expensive to live anywhere in DC. They weren't going to bring their families out to the region....mostly because it's like a third-world republic and they decided to live out of their offices.
This "Citizens" groups.....if you were curious....is a mostly liberal group who announces ethics violations on occasion. They want everyone to know that the House building is simply not a dorm or frat house. They also think these politicians are violating House rules and various tax laws (not reporting Congress as a free housing benefit). Then they came to suggest that folks shocked over the cost of living in DC....shouldn't have run in the first place.
I sat and pondered over this. First, this job as a Congressman isn't really what you'd consider as a full-time job. Most of these guys will come up by 3PM on Friday....run to the airport, and fly back to Ohio or New York or Michigan....to be with their families. They fly back on Monday morning. They wouldn't dare move their families to the region because in two years......based on elections....they may be out of a job. So why take moving to DC as an important part of life?
The comment over reporting Congress as a free housing benefit? That made me laugh mostly. The tent I slept in while spending ten days in Honduras....should I have reported that as a free housing benefit? The tent I slept in Turkey for four months....should I have reported that as a free housing benefit? The tent I slept in while in Saudi Arabia for the war....should I have reported that as a free housing benefit? It's a joke to suggest free housing benefits.
The ethics committee now involved in this? I'm guessing they are mostly laughing over this. The majority in the committee are mostly Republicans....as are mostly the free-loader crowd sleeping in Congress. So nothing much is going to be said about this free-housing deal.
So I'll pose this base to the "Citizens for Responsibility" group....what exactly do you want folks to do? A guy spends barely 18 days a month in DC. Unlike the 1800s where you had boarding houses around the whole region and Congressmen just showed up and paid for a couple of months in a boarding house and then went back home to reality....we have a different environment today, with no boarding houses.
The simple answer to this? The US should go out and buy a older cruise boat.....bring it up the Potomac River....and dock it by the Pentagon. Give each of the Congressmen and Senators a free room with a $8 plate of breakfast food each day. Offer up some free Metro cards and let them ride from the Pentagon over to the Capital building. The catch? We put up a hundred cameras on the cruise boat and give folks a chance to see their Representative or Congressman twenty-four hours a day.
In essence here.....the "Citizens" group doesn't have much to complain about if this is the worst that they can dig up. They ought to think about that....long and hard.