November 18, 2014

CREW Releases Report Revealing Senators Use Positions to Benefit Family Members

Family Affair 2014Washington, D.C. Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) released Family Affair, its latest investigation into how members of Congress use their positions to benefit themselves and their families. CREW’s report includes briefs on 67 senators who have enriched themselves and their family members by taking advantage of their official positions.

Senators collectively paid relatives nearly $1.3 million in salaries and fees and paid family businesses, employers, or associated nonprofits nearly $2.6 million. Twenty senators claimed reimbursements from their campaigns and leadership PACs for themselves and their relatives exceeding $25,000 apiece. Several senators also earmarked or directed money to organizations affiliated with their family members.

Click here to read about the actions of these senators in CREW’s latest report.

Key findings of the report include:

  • 19 senators (5 Democrats, 1 Independent, and 13 Republicans) who paid family members through their campaign committees or political action committees;
  • 30 senators (10 Democrats and 20 Republicans) who have relatives who lobby or are employed in government affairs;
  • 26 senators (12 Democrats and 14 Republicans) who have paid a family business, employer, or associated nonprofit;
  • 7 senators (5 Democrats and 2 Republicans) who used their campaign funds to contribute to or pay a family member’s campaign;
  • 3 senators (1 Democrat and 2 Republicans) who charged interest on loans they made personally to their own campaigns; and
  • 11 senators (6 Democrats and 5 Republicans) who earmarked or directed money to a family business, employer, or associated nonprofit.

“Senators’ salaries are several times that of the average American, yet some find ways to further line their pockets,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. “The Senate may be gridlocked when it comes to conducting the people’s business, but for family members enjoying the perks of being related to a senator, it’s business as usual.”

This edition of Family Affair is a follow-up to CREW’s 2008 Family Affair — Senate report, which looked at how senators used their positions to benefit family members over the 2002, 2004, and 2006 election cycles.  The new report focuses on the 2008, 2010, and 2012 cycles and the first half of the 2014 cycle.  CREW also released a Family Affair report in 2012 that focused on members of the House.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a non-profit legal watchdog group dedicated to holding public officials accountable for their actions. For more information, please visit or contact Jordan Libowitz at 202.408.5565 or

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