The Washington Times - February 10, 2011, 08:02PM

A government watchdog group has asked the the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate whether members of Congress who sleep in their offices are violating House rules.

The group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), also has called on the OCE to determine if these members are violating tax law by failing to report lodging as a taxable fringe benefit.

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CREW says news reports have shown at least 33 members — 26 Republicans and 7 Democrats — have turned their offices into dorm rooms. 

“House office buildings are not dorms or frat houses,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. “If members didn’t want to find housing in Washington, they shouldn’t have run for Congress in the first place.”

In a letter sent to the OCE Thursday, CREW cited the following congressmen for reportedly sleeping in their office:

Republicans Steve Chabot of Ohio, Jason Chaffetz of Utah, Sean Duffy of Wisconsin, Stephen Fincher of Tennessee, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Chris Gibson of New York, Tim Griffin of Arkansas, Paul Gosar of Arizona, Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, Morgan Griffith of Virginia, Richard Hanna of New York, Joe Heck of Nevada, Bill Huizenga of Michigan, Bill Johnson of Ohio, James Lankford of Oklahoma, Kevin McCarthy of California, Patrick Meehan of Pennsylvania, Ben Quayle of Arizona, Todd Rokita of Indiana, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, David Schweikert of Arizona, Steve Stivers of Ohio, John Sullivan of Oklahoma, Joe Walsh of Illinois, Todd Young of Indiana and Tim Walberg of Michigan; and Democrats Dan Boren of Oklahoma, John Carney of Delaware, Hansen Clarke of Michigan, and Luis Guittierez, Dan Lipinski, Mike Quigley and Bobby Rush — all of Illinois.

CREW said there could be others using their congressional offices for lodging. The group didn’t say how often the alleged sleepovers occur.

CREW said Superintendent of House Office Buildings Bill Weidemeyer has said that members sleeping in their offices adds some burden to the Capitol’s housekeeping staff and has made building maintenance more difficult because members complain they can’t sleep through the noise of construction.

“Americans expect members of Congress to follow the tax laws just like everyone else,” said Ms. Sloan said. “If legislators are going to treat their offices as dorm rooms, at the very least they should pay the appropriate taxes.

“And really, who wants to run into a member of Congress in need of a shower wandering the halls in sweats or a robe?” she said.