"C Street House" under ethics investigation

An ethics office will determine whether congressmen are paying below-market rent to a secretive Christian group

Published June 9, 2010 2:15PM (EDT)

The Office of Congressional Ethics is investigating the C Street townhouse owned by the mafia-inspired Christianist group "The Family."

Members of Congress who live in the C Street House pay $950/month for private rooms in a $1.8 million townhouse, steps from the Capitol, with maid service and laundry included. How can the building's owner afford such a deal? Easy -- the C Street house is classified as a church.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint in April. The OCE's job is to vet complaints and refer cases to the appropriate ethics committee.

Congressmen who live in the house have been downplaying the unusual nature of the situation ever since the John Ensign and Mark Sanford scandals thrust the house into the limelight. The OCE investigation could be abandoned within 30 days or go on for three months before its taken up by the ethics committee.

By Alex Pareene

Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at apareene@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @pareene

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John Ensign Mark Sanford Religion Republican Party U.s. House Of Representatives War Room