Reason No. 52 for #OWS: Government Officials Enriching Themselves At Taxpayer Expense

March 30, 2012

248 members of Congress have used their position to either enrich themselves or family members according to an investigative report by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). The New York Times worded it thusly: “…an extraordinary compendium of creative accounting, self-interested budgeting and generous expense reimbursements. It highlights common practices that translate into tens of millions of dollars in payments to relatives or the lawmakers themselves.”

CREW’s key findings:

  • 82 members (40 Democrats and 42 Republicans) paid family members through their congressional offices, campaign committees and political action committees (PACs);
  • 44 members (20 Democrats and 24 Republicans) have family members who lobby or are employed in government affairs;
  • 90 members (42 Democrats and 48 Republicans) have paid a family business, employer, or associated nonprofit;
  • 20 members (13 Democrats and 7 Republicans) used their campaign money to contribute to a family member’s political campaign;
  • 14 members (6 Democrats and 8 Republicans) charged interest on personal loans they made to their own campaigns;
  • 38 members (24 Democrats and 14 Republicans) earmarked to a family business, employer, or associated nonprofit.

In a related story, Regina Dugan was appointed three years ago to run the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Although she has resigned from DARPA, “the Defense Department Inspector General is looking into hundreds of thousands of dollars in contracts that DARPA gave out to RedX Defense, a bomb-detection firm that Dugan co-founded, and still partially owns.” [bold added]

If you are paying very close attention to those who have thrown their hat into the 2012 election campaign game (and their backgrounds), you have to ask yourself the same question the Old Man has asked of himself on several occasions: “Why have some of these people jumped in? It doesn’t make sense!” For me, the answer is always the same: A way to ‘get rich quick’.

It’s very obvious that that’s what more than half of congressional members have done.


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