Blanket Forts and Congress: A Scandal?

At the risk of giving this story more air than it deserves, there is a “watchdog” group seeking an investigation of certain Members of Congress who sleep in their office.  The story is about a week old and had been relegated to blogs, but MSNBC is running a story on-air and online today.  CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) alleges that as many as 32 members are using their offices as an ultra-cool boys club/fort (blanket fort?).  Not only are the Members in violation of House Ethics, according to the group, but they should also be paying taxes and fair market value for their sleeping arrangements.

The Representatives aren’t hiding the fact that they are sleeping in the office.  It gives them street cred back home for not “going Washington”.  It’s petty, but there are plenty of Americans who have an irrational hatred of all things Washington.  These Congressmen (I believe they are all men) are doing what Elected Officials do – pandering to the lowest common denominator.  They also claim that it’s expensive.  D.C. is a pricey town.  Members of Congress do have to maintain a home in their District and support their families.  A second home in D.C. might be too much.  If they didn’t make $174,000 per year.

Still, let’s give them a mulligan on this, especially if they are building mattress forts.  There is no scandal here.  If a Representative wants to sleep uncomfortably on his couch or stuff a cot in a closet, let him.  There are far more important issues facing this nation.  Asking Congress to waste time on this is the real scandal here.  From the budget to the unrest in the Mid-East to the new fights over choice, we need Congress to focus.  CREW knows this.  This was clearly a moonshot by CREW to bring attention to themselves.  We deserve a better class of scandal and “watchdog” in D.C.

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