June 23, 2003

THE LOS ANGELES TIMES has more on nepotism in Washington today, with this observation:

“Lots of people have children, wives and stuff that work back here,” he said. “It is not as if a lot of cash is changing hands.”

Seeking favors is as old as the Capitol, but the new tendency to come at it from the side — through family members — may be a consequence of campaign-finance reform: As restrictions have tightened on traditional political giving, interest groups have cast about for new ways to ingratiate themselves.

Nothing strikes quite such a personal note as channeling fees or lucrative jobs to relatives — whether the relatives lobby Congress or perform other services. There are no restrictions. Neither House nor Senate rules bar the practice.

At least 17 senators and 11 members of the House have children, spouses or other close relatives who lobby or work as consultants, most in Washington, according to lobbyist reports, financial-disclosure forms and other state and federal records. Many are paid by clients who count on the related lawmaker for support.

Indeed.