Follow Us

Tag Archive: Family Business

Dick Morris Proposes Banning Some of Congress’s Family Businesses

by

While it's a little odd see Dick Morris, the former hired gun political advisor of both Bill Clinton and Trent Lott, show an interest in congressional ethics, it's worth noting that among the reforms he proposes (indeed, the top one on his list) is banning campaigns and Political Action Committees from hiring family members of members of Congress. Morris has a pretty long list that includes not just spouses, not just children, but also brothers, cousins, nephews and an in-law:

Those who have hired spouses and family members include: Reps. Richard Pombo (R-Calif.), wife and two brothers; Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), husband’s law firm; Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), wife and step-daughter; John Doolittle (R-Calif.), wife; Ralph Hall (R-Texas), daughter-in-law; Pete Stark (D-Calif.), wife; Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), wife; Ron Lewis (R-Ky.), wife; Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), wife; Jim Costa (D-Calif.), cousin; Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), wife; Dave Reichert (R-Wash.), nephew; Chris Cannon (R-Utah), three daughters; Lincoln Davis (D-Tenn.), sister-in-law and daughter; Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), wife; Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.), daughter; Bob Filner (D-Calif.), wife; J.D. Hayworth (R-Ariz.), wife; Bob Inglis (R-S.C.), wife; Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.), wife; Sherwood Boehlert (R-N.Y.), wife; John Sweeney (R-N.Y.), wife; Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), wife; Ed Pastor (D-Ariz.), nephew; John Shadegg (R-Ariz.), son; and Howard Berman (D-Calif.), brother Michael’s political consulting firm; Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), son; and Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), son and daughter during vice presidential race; and ex-Reps. Bob Ney (R-Ohio), wife; and Tom DeLay (R-Texas), wife and daughter.

Continue reading
Share This:

Family Business — 3rd Update

by

The basic research is done, and before I begin making the earnest effort to digest the raw results, let me first thank all who participated--especially Beezling, who topped his prolific performance on round one with an incredible turn on round two--he did 319 this time around, doing by far the bulk of the entries. Get that man a fedora and a press pass! More information soon...

Continue reading
Share This:

Family Business — Second Update

by

Nearly 7 p.m. Sunday, and we're through 296 members and 41 states--pretty incredible. To all who've joined this effort, once again let me offer a heartfelt thank you. Some preliminary numbers as we move toward the final leg, but first let me point out that these a). haven't been verified and b). need to be looked at more closely to figure out what they mean. So keep those caveats in mind. Citizen journalists have tentatively identified $480,029 in campaign expenditures going from a House member's campaign to a firms that employs that member's spouse in the current election cycle. Citizen journalists have also tentatively found that organizations for which House members' spouses work have landed a total of $2,788,663,441--that's $2.7 billion--in federal contracts in 2005 (the last full year for which information is available) and $2,649,935,942--$2.6 billion--in federal grants in 2004 (again, the last year for which we have complete data).

Continue reading
Share This:

Family Business — First Update

by

Wow. We're a little past the four hour mark, and we're through 24 states and 188 members. I'll continue to keep an eye on progress tonight, but this has once again been an incredible effort. Thanks to all who are making round two as successful as the first go round!

Continue reading
Share This:

Is Congress A Family Business, Round Two

by

It's your last chance to investigate the 109th Congress before Election Day! Who else besides Julie Doolittle has a company that works for her spouse's campaign? How many federal contractors employ spouses of members of Congress? Have nonprofits that receive part of their funding from congressional appropriations hired spouses of members? It's up to you to find out! Round Two of "Is Congress a Family Business" is now online! Thanks to our too modest Web design genius, it's still as slick and user friendly as round one.

Continue reading
Share This:

Under Investigation Watch: Piling On Curt Weldon

by

Rep. Curt Weldon can’t seem to catch a break. First, he found out that he was under federal investigation after his lobbyist daughter and her client, Itera, had their offices raided by the FBI. Then, to much ridicule, he attempted to blame the entire FBI raid on a liberal conspiracy involving Bill Clinton, Sandy Berger, and Jamie Gorelick. Now the Philadelphia Inquirer and the New York Times have decided to pile on with stories that are textbook examples of what is wrong with Washington. They describe an Italian defense contractor fêting Weldon at a five-star hotel in Italy and a $2 million earmark to another defense contractor, Dynamic Defense Materials.

Continue reading
Share This:

Citizen Journalists Find Spouses of Incumbents Paid with Campaign Cash

by

Some 19 current members of the House of Representatives pay their spouses out of their campaign war chests, totaling more than $636,000 in the current election cycle, a study by citizen journalists working with the Sunlight Foundation has found. Phase one of the "Is Congress A Family Business?" investigation is now complete. Using an innovative tool developed by Sunlight Labs, about 40 volunteers investigated anywhere from one to as many as 155 members, uncovering those who, by hiring their spouses to work for their campaign, allow special interest cash to enter their family budgets. While the federal nepotism statute prohibits members of Congress from hiring spouses to work in their Washington or district offices, there is no law preventing members from hiring family members to work for their campaign committees, provided they render bona fide services to the campaign at fair market value.

Continue reading
Share This:

Update on Family Business: Moving Toward Phase Two

by

We've gotten some great feedback on planning the next round of our Congressional Family Business investigation, both from inside the office, from some of the folks who made the first round such a success, and from some smart observers (thanks to David Cohn for posting that at Digg!). We're starting to design phase two now (what this means in practice is that I get to keep bothering our Sunlight Labs geniuses with questions that begin with cringe-inducing phrases like, "How quickly could you..." or "How hard would it be to..." or "Would it be possible to..."). I'm really excited about round two; and even though we won't be able to incorporate all the excellent suggestions we've gotten right away, this step will include some of your ideas while also giving us the building blocks to do some never-before-seen investigations, like figuring out whether spouses work for companies or organizations that have gotten federal contracts or grants (something our friends at OMB Watch have made possible through FedSpending.org), or for firms that lobby or hire lobbyists to influence Congress.

Continue reading
Share This:

Kudos to USAToday! Now Let’s See That Lobbyist List…

by

USA Today, and its reporters Matt Kelley and Peter Eisler, have an astounding story out that today that really advances our knowledge of the extent of insiderism on Capitol Hill, and how Congress really has become a family business. And as you read the next few paragraphs, remember that they looked at two committees--JUST TWO COMMITTEES--the House and Senate Appropriations Committees--to get their totals. Think what we'll turn up when we've done the whole Congress!

Members of Congress and their staffs are barred from using their positions for personal profit. But their spouses and other relatives can — and often do — cash in when lawmakers spend taxpayer dollars.

Continue reading
Share This:

Speaking of Diverting Campaign Cash…

by

...to personal uses, it appears that Sen. Harry Reid, hot on the heels of amending his financial disclsoure reports to accurately report the details of a land deal, has also decided to reimburse his campaign $3,300 after using it as a petty cash stash to donate to a fund that buys Christmas gifts for the support staff who work in the building (which happens to be a Ritz-Carlton) where he has his Washington area home. Incidentally, I tend to be much closer to the Captain Ed Morissey view of this--that additional spade work is warrented--as opposed to the Paul Kiel view--that the Associated Press's initial story doesn't add up.

Continue reading
Share This:

CFC (Combined Federal Campaign) Today 59063

Charity Navigator