Family Affair - Senate
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) released its first-ever analysis of the misuse of power by all members of the Senate to financially benefit their family members. The analysis covers the 2002, 2004 and 2006 election cycles. The new report, Family Affair - Senate, names 87 senators from all 50 states: 42 Democrats, 43 Republicans and 2 Independents.
In light of several well publicized cases of members of Congress using their positions to enrich their family members, in June, 2007 CREW released Family Affair - House, which examined the 337 members of the House of Representatives in top leadership positions and the chairs and ranking members of House committees and subcommittees. CREW has now applied the same analysis to the Senate.
Highlights of CREW’s Family Affair - Senate report include:
- 31 senators have one or more family members registered to lobby or employed in government affairs.
- In total, senators paid $928,399.49 in fees or contributions to family businesses or employers.
- Combined, senators paid $528,797.42 in salaries or fees directly to family members.
Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW, said today, "CREW’s report, Family Affair - Senate shows that family members routinely receive payments from campaign committees and leadership PACs and that a significant number of senators’ relatives become lobbyists. While none of this is illegal, at the very least this information should be readily available to the public, which it is not. ”
“Most Americans will never meet a lobbyist; but if you are a U.S. Senator, chances are good there is one in your family.”
Among the report’s highlights:
Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) has the most family members who have been registered to lobby, with four.
Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) paid the most total money in salary or fees to a family member, paying his daughter $138,933.37.
Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) paid the largest amount in fees to a family business, paying her son’s company $320,000.00.
Senator Michael Enzi (R-WY) paid his daughter-in-law’s company $306,251.58. His campaign reimbursed himself and his wife, paid his daughter-in-law, reimbursed and paid his daughter-in-law’s company, and his son has been registered to lobby Congress.
The report includes recommendations for changes to existing law including: that senators be required to file FEC reports electronically, that members be prohibited from paying family members from campaign funds, that members of Congress be required to disclose their affiliation with leadership PACs and that lobbyists be required to disclose their family relationships with members of Congress.