Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a watchdog group, is asking the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate members of Congress who sleep in their offices. The group claims these Congress members are violating the law, and receiving a tax-free benefit, by making personal use of a public building.
"House office buildings are not dorms or frat houses," Melanie Sloan, the group's executive director, said Thursday. "If members didn't want to find housing in Washington, they shouldn't have run for Congress in the first place."
For years, at least a few lawmakers have slept on couches and cots in their offices to avoid long commutes or pricey Washington rents. Some see it as a badge of honor, a commitment to frugality and hard work, and a reminder to constituents they don't consider Washington home.
CREW cited media reports that more than 30 lawmakers, all men, are now doing it. Sloan thinks the real total could be as many as 40 or 50 after a wave of budget-conscious, anti-Washington freshmen won seats in November.
Rep. Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, has slept in his office for years. Ryan, R-Wis., brushed aside questions about the complaint.
"People have been doing it for decades," he said. "I work until midnight every night. I get up at six every morning."