Rep. Ron Paul's signature libertarianism takes on a whole new meaning with the disclosure that he has paid more than $300,000 in salaries and fees to his daughter, brother, grandson, daughter's mother-in-law, granddaughter and grandson-in-law.
There is no congressional ethics rule against employing family members in the pursuit of public service, as the office of Paul, R-Texas and presidential hopeful, points out.
But a new report detailing how the families of more than half of all House members similarly benefited financially from their ties with a lawmaker makes for particularly interesting reading when politicians all over are promising voters: jobs, jobs, jobs.
Eighty-two lawmakers paid family members through their office payrolls, campaign committees and political-action funds, according to the 346-page report by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, an independent watchdog group in Washington.
Forty-four had relatives who lobbied or worked in government affairs.
Twenty members dipped into their campaign coffers to help a relative who ran for office, and 14 made sure they charged interest when they were reimbursed for personal loans that they advanced to their own campaign committees.
A little-noticed House hearing recently admitted that Congress, wallowing in 10 percent approval ratings, was "broken" and needed to be "fixed." No one said anything about ending the rampant bipartisan nepotism cushioning Capitol Hill careers.
If nothing else, the report is a measure of the creativity quietly at work in Congress when it comes to hearth and home. If only this could be applied to something other than achieving full employment in the halls of the Capitol.
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