Congress likes scratching its own back

A study shows that 73 Congress members pushed bills to help their own businesses or those of family members

By Jillian Rayfield

Published October 8, 2012 3:34PM (EDT)


The Washington Post surveyed legislation sponsored and co-sponsored by members of the House and the Senate, and found that 73 of them pushed bills that would benefit their own businesses or those of family members.

Some examples of the practice, from the Post:

"A California congressman helped secure tax breaks for racehorse owners — then purchased seven horses for himself when the new rules kicked in.A Wyoming congresswoman co-sponsored legislation to double the life span of federal grazing permits that ranchers such as her husband rely on to feed cattle.
And a Pennsylvania congressman co-sponsored a natural gas bill as Exxon Mobil negotiated a deal that paid millions for his wife’s shares in two natural gas companies founded by her great-great-grandfather."
The practice is legal, as long as the congressperson or a family member is not the only one who would benefit from the bill. 

Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

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