U.S. Rep. Meehan: Asleep at the job

Ok, so he's not sleeping on the job, but newly-elected U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan admits, he's sleeping at the job.

Now a government watchdog group is asking for a probe into the more than 30 members of Congress - Meehan among them - who are reportedly bunking in their Capitol offices.

The group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, says the U.S. Capitol is turning into a "frat house" and the members living there are violating Congressional policy and federal tax laws.

Meehan, a Republican, told Fox 29 that he can't afford to pay D.C. rent with a family back home in suburban Philadelphia. 

"They have got to be kidding with this one. I wish that my personal circumstances were such that I could rent or buy a place in D.C. while raising a family back home, but like every family we make tough choices to make it work. For me, that means sleeping on a floor. Many other Members of Congress do the same thing,” said Meehan in a statement sent to Fox 29.

But CREW executive director Melanie Sloan argues House office buildings are not college dorms.

"If members didn't want to find housing in Washington, they shouldn't have run for Congress in the first place," she said.

Her group has asked the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate whether any tax laws are being violated.

The Associated Press reported OCE had no comment on the charges and several congressional officials said they were not aware of any rules specifically addressing the issue of sleeping in offices.

CREW argues the IRS treats lodging as a taxable fringe benefit unless it is offered on the employer's business premises, is for the employer's convenience and is required as a condition of employment.

Members of Congress living in their offices is nothing new. At least one member spents two decades sleeping on his office sofa.

But what a parting shot CREW took at the end of its press release, which also charged that having round-the-clock occupants in the Capitol is a burden on cleaning staff:

"And really, who wants to run into a member of Congress in need of a shower wandering the halls in sweats or a robe?"



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