House says no to salaried spouses

Bill would halt payments to family members from campaign coffers, but victory in the Senate is unlikely.


Julia Dahl
July 24, 2007 3:00AM (UTC)

The House of Representatives just passed a bill that prohibits federal candidates from paying their spouses to work on campaigns. The bill, introduced in June by Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., received bipartisan support.

Last Wednesday, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington released a report titled "Family Affair." In the report, CREW said it found that between 2002 and 2006, 64 members of Congress paid family members through either campaign committees or PACs (26 Democrats, 38 Republicans), and 24 had relatives who lobbied Congress. In its report on the bill's passage, the Associated Press reminded readers that "former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, controlled a PAC that paid his wife and daughter several hundred thousand dollars in consulting fees and expenses over several years."

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., both expressed support for the bill, which, according to the Congressional Quarterly, was allowed to bypass the committee process and proceed directly to the floor of the House for a voice vote.

Reports the AP: "Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW, praised the House action but conceded the bill's prospects in the Senate are 'probably very poor' because Senate rules make it easy to block measures that lack widespread support." Translation: Opponents will, by threatening a filibuster, demand that the bill get 60 votes in order to pass, instead of just straight majority approval.


Julia Dahl

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