Congressmen like Mark Sanford who sleep in their offices? 'It's almost nasty,' critics say

Post and Courier | 3/7/2018 | Staff
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Congressmen who sleep in their D.C. offices — including Republicans from South Carolina — are under fire once again from Democrats irked over where they put their heads at night.

The bunking habit, they contend, is both an abuse of taxpayer funds and, as one Mississippi Democrat termed it, "almost nasty."

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A letter from more than two dozen members of the Congressional Black Caucus, including South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn, is asking for an ethics review into the "legality and propriety" of members using their offices as overnight apartments.

U.S. Reps. Mark Sanford, R-Mount Pleasant; Trey Gowdy, R-Spartanburg; and Jeff Duncan, R-Laurens, are some of the South Carolina lawmakers known to have slept where they work.

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“There’s something unsanitary about bringing people to your office who are talking about public policy where you spent the night, and that’s unhealthy, unsanitary — and some people would say it’s almost nasty,” Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the top Democrat on the Homeland Security Committee, told Politico, the first site to report the existence of the complaint.

Clyburn told The Post and Courier he saw the practice as a large-scale effort by some members to circumvent housing and tax burdens, and reinforces the mistaken belief in the public eyes that members of Congress get free housing and transportation as one of the many perks.

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He pays $2,500 a month for a one-bedroom apartment, he said.

The notion of lawmakers sleeping in their offices is nothing new and dates back to the earliest days of the nation when travel was much more difficult and Washington wasn't nearly as large. It was notably rekindled in 1994 during the so-called "Republican Revolution" led by former Texas GOP Rep. Dick Armey.

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The objective at the time as stated by GOP lawmakers, including Sanford, who was in his first stint in Congress, was that conservatives wanted...
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