It’s A Family Affair

Ken AshfordCongressLeave a Comment

CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) has released a devastating report on government nepotism — how Congresspersons are using their positions to financially benefit their family members.


  • 24 have relatives who lobby Congress (10 Democrats and 14 Republicans);
  • 19 used their campaign committees or PACs to pay a family business or a business that employs a family member (9 Democrats and 10 Republicans);
  • 17 used their campaign funds to make campaign contributions to relatives (11 Democrats and 6 Republicans);
  • 15 used their positions to benefit a family member or a family member’s client (3 Democrats and 12 Republicans);
  • At least 7 paid offspring who ranged from school-age to college-age (all Republicans)
  • Some examples:

    • Rep. Randy Forbes’s (R-VA) campaign committee paid his three children over $45,000.
    • Rep. Paul Kanjorski’s (D-PA) campaign committee and leadership PAC have paid his own company (which he co-owns with his brother) over $40,000 in rent and his campaign committee paid two of his nephews over $70,000. In addition, two companies which are partly owned by Rep. Kanjorski’s family members have received over $9.4 million in earmarks.
    • Rep. Zoe Lofgren’s (D-CA) campaign committee has paid her husband’s two businesses almost $350,000, mostly for event management, accounting and fundraising services.
    • Rep. Chris Cannon’s (R-UT) campaign committee paid six of his eight children over $60,000. In addition, Rep. Cannon has used his position to assist his brother’s clients.

    None of this is, technically speaking, illegal, but it is the hope of CREW that changes should be made in the law to prevent this sort of thing.

    Read the full report here (PDF format).