ABC News’ Matthew Jaffe reports:
It’s a fun story – members of Congress sleeping in their Capitol Hill offices to show voters that they’re in Washington to work rather than live the high life. And it helps them save money on rent, too.
But one watchdog group says it’s no laughing matter.
The group – Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) – has asked the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate if these members are breaking House rules and violating tax laws by not reporting their lodging as taxable.
“House office buildings are not dorms or frat houses,” CREW executive director Melanie Sloan said. “If members didn’t want to find housing in Washington, they shouldn’t have run for Congress in the first place.”
In a letter to the Office of Congressional Ethics, Sloan called for an immediate probe into the issue.
“It is unseemly for members of Congress to sleep in House offices, thereby increasing the work of housekeeping staff and interfering with necessary maintenance and construction,” Sloan wrote. “It is also distasteful for members who sleep in their offices to wander the halls in sweat clothes or robes in search of a shower. Such conduct undermines the decorum of the House of Representatives.”
Of course, in the wake of Rep. Chris Lee’s abrupt resignation yesterday after his shirtless photo scandal, this clearly isn’t the only thing that “undermines the decorum” of the House.
For more on the time-honored tradition of lawmakers sleeping in their offices, watch Jonathan Karl's 2009 report on lawmakers sleeping in their offices HERE.
And some lawmakers are celebrated for sleeping in their offices. Former Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., slept in his office for all of his 18 years in Congress until he retired this year. A Michigan museum has added Hoekstra's couch to its collection.