From Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington
This report marks the first-ever complete study of how members of the House of Representatives use their positions to benefit themselves and their families. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) undertook a similar study in 2007, but it was not all-inclusive. Expanding on our earlier work, for this 2012 edition we reviewed every sitting member of the House. Download the full report.
CREW’s investigation uncovered 248 members meriting inclusion in this in-depth compilation, which covers the 2008 and 2010 election cycles.
CREW’s key findings:
- 82 members (40 Democrats and 42 Republicans) paid family members through their congressional offices, campaign committees and political action committees (PACs);
- 44 members (20 Democrats and 24 Republicans) have family members who lobby or are employed in government affairs;
- 90 members (42 Democrats and 48 Republicans) have paid a family business, employer, or associated nonprofit;
- 20 members (13 Democrats and 7 Republicans) used their campaign money to contribute to a family member’s political campaign;
- 14 members (6 Democrats and 8 Republicans) charged interest on personal loans they made to their own campaigns;
- 38 members (24 Democrats and 14 Republicans) earmarked to a family business, employer, or associated nonprofit.
MAZIE K. HIRONO (D-HI) is a three-term member of Congress, representing Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district. She is a member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.
Rep. Hirono’s campaign committee, Friends of Mazie Hirono, paid her husband’s law office.
Leighton Kim Oshima (husband):
- Mr. Oshima holds an ownership interest in law firm Wong & Oshima, and draws a salary from the firm. During the 2008 election cycle, Rep. Hirono’s campaign committee paid Wong & Oshima $7,708 for rent.
- During the 2010 election cycle, Rep. Hirono’s campaign committee paid Wong & Oshima $7,560 for rent.
(NOTE: According to Opensecrets.org, Hirono is again paying Wong & Oshima again in the current cycle. Total reported so far $5,023. And in 2008, Hirono paid $10,310 to herself. $20,291 to husband's lawfirm, and an additional $10,310 paid to Hirono: Grand Total: $30,601.)
Related: Hirono Refuses To Release Tax Returns
OpenSecrets.org: Hirono Campaign pays Wong & Oshima $5,023 from 2012 Campaign Funds
OpenSecrets.org Hirono Campaign pays Wong & Oshima $7937 from 2010 campaign funds
OpenSecrets.org Hirono pays herself $10,310 from 2008 campaign funds (Funds paid to Wong & Oshima fall below the Open Secrets “top vendors’ threshold for 2008)
Related: Pay to Play Fines Unpaid: Hirono for Governor Campaign Closes Owing State Elections Fund Over $98,000
Bio of CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan
Melanie Sloan serves as CREW's Executive Director and is a nationally recognized expert on congressional ethics. Prior to starting CREW, she served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Columbia where, from 1998-2003, she successfully tried cases before dozens of judges and juries.
Before becoming a prosecutor, Ms. Sloan served as Minority Counsel for the House Judiciary Committee, working on criminal justice issues for Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI). Ms. Sloan also served as Counsel to the Crime Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by then-Representative Charles Schumer (D-NY). There, she drafted portions of the 1994 Crime Bill, including the Violence Against Women Act. In 1993, Ms. Sloan served as Nominations Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, under then-Chairman Joseph Biden (D-DE). Prior to working for the Congress, she was an associate at Howrey and Simon in Washington D.C.
Ms. Sloan received her B.A. and J.D. from the University of Chicago and has published in the Yale Law and Policy Review, and numerous other publications. Frequently called upon by national news programs to provide analysis, Ms. Sloan has appeared on shows including:NPR's All Things Considered and Morning Edition; CNN's The Situation Room, Piers Morgan Tonight and Anderson Cooper 360; MSNBC's Hardball, The Rachel Maddow Show, The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, The Ed Show and The Dylan Ratigan Show; Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier;NBC Nightly News; CBS Evening News; and ABC World News. Ms. Sloan also regularly provides insight to newspapers, magazines and online media across the country including: The New York Times,The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Newsweek Magazine, Talking Points Memo, and the Daily Caller. Rolling Stone Magazine, named her “One of the Year's Greatest Mavericks” in 2006, and as one of “100 Agents of Change” in 2008.
Ms. Sloan has been profiled in a number of publications including: Ms. Magazine, Time Magazine and Mother Jones. She has been named one of Washington, DC’s Top Grassroots Lobbyists by The Hill for four years running and was profiled in the September 2009 issue of O Magazine as part of the “O Power List.” In 2010, the National Law Journal named Ms. Sloan one of "Washington's Most Influential Women Lawyers."