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Family Members Of Congressional Lawmakers Benefit


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Family Members of Michigan Congressional Lawmakers Benefit





The campaigns of some Michigan members of Congress paid family thousands of dollars for wages, travel expenses and even band performances, according to a new report.

The expenses were reported by House members in public filings and are legal, but the report from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington highlights how family members oftentimes benefit from the members' positions.


Among CREW's findings, the campaign committees for:


Rep. Justin Amash, R-Cascade Township, paid his father's company, Michigan Industrial Tools, $3,393 for office furniture during his freshman bid for Congress. Amash's office says the campaign bought used furniture at fair market value.


Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Crystal Falls, employed his nephew, Trent Benishek, who handled media relations, and stepson, Michael Grunland, as campaign manager. They were paid $5,077 and $13,348, respectively. They worked full-time for the campaign for three months and their salaries amounted to 1.3 percent of the total campaign expenditures, Benishek's office said.


Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, reimbursed him $16,564 for advertising, meals and travel, and reimbursed his wife, Natalie, $2,916 for equipment rental, supplies, mileage and website expenses.


Rep. Dale Kildee, D-Flint, paid his brother, Jack Kildee, $2,000 in consulting fees in the 2010 election cycle.


Rep. Thad McCotter, R-Livonia, paid his brother, Dennis McCotter, $1,200 for "band performance fees" in the 2008 election cycle. The guitar-playing congressman is a fourth member in the band where his brother plays bass and sings lead, according to McCotter's chief of staff. Expenses are for performances at several campaign events and Dennis McCotter divides the payment among the three band members, Martin Van Valkenburg said.


Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township, paid her daughter Wendy N. Carmack $21,054 in salary during her 2010 election cycle. "All taxes are properly paid and none of her work is done at taxpayer expense," Erin Sayago, Miller's spokeswoman said.


Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Tipton, reimbursed him $3,041 in 2008 for mileage, travel and other expenses and $13,598 in 2010 for mileage. The campaign also reimbursed his wife, Sue, $14,520 for petty cash, food, travel and other expenses in the 2008 cycle, and $3,220 for food, office supplies and other expenses in 2010. While Walberg is focused "on our nation's needs," CREW instead "is spending the day announcing the obvious fact that campaign committees pay for campaign expenses," said Sarah Kuziomko, Walberg's press secretary.


Among other findings in the report:


Bloomfield Township Democrat Rep. Gary Peters' campaign donated $2,500 to Forgotten Harvest in the 2010 election cycle. In June 2011, the charity hired his wife, Colleen Peters, as senior director of strategic and planned gifts. Colleen Peters has a master's in philanthropic studies and previously worked for the Community Foundation.


Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, earmarked $600,000 to Wayne County, which employs his daughter-in-law, Cindy Dingell. The money was for a military mental health initiative.


Brighton Republican Rep. Mike Rogers' wife, Kristi Clemens Rogers, worked as a lobbyist in 2007 for Aegis Defense Services LLC, a defense services contractor. Rogers' spokesman pointed out the couple married in 2010 and she never lobbied the congressman during her brief stint as a lobbyist in 2007. She's now vice chairman of the Board of Directors at Aegis.



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This is not a surprise, nor is it shocking in any way.


The truth of our nation is that money is GOD. If you're not born into privilege then our government on every level says YOU DON'T MATTER. If you cannot earn enough to buy your way out of paying taxes then our government will pile them on till we can't breathe. Politicians have NOT had the citizens in mind when making decisions for a very long time. Politicians are the new "Rock Stars". They are there for themselves and no one else. Narcissism runs wild in the American Government.


Just my 2 cents

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