In D.C., It's All Relative

Congress members, staff, and lobbyists—one big happy family

Other examples, gleaned from the Associated Press:

Laurie Stupak, wife of Michigan Democratic congressman Bart Stupak: $36,000 a year for two years working on her husband's campaign.

Elizabeth Ney, wife of Ohio GOP congressman Bob Ney: $1,730 a month during last year's campaign. She has worked as campaign consultant since 2001. Bob Ney is entangled in the Abramoff scandal and is under investigation for bribery.

DeLay, thinking of family
DeLay, thinking of family

Kathy Gohmert, wife of Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican congressman: $21,791 over four months as campaign manager plus a $7,500 bonus last November.

While congressional wives pitch in for pay, other members of the family often help out. Connecticut senator Joseph Lieberman's two kids worked for their father on his last presidential foray, with son Matthew getting $34,000 and daughter Rebecca scoring $36,000. Delaware senator Joe Biden's son, R. Hunter Biden, provides another example: In 2003, The New York Times reported, he joined MBNA America Bank, the huge credit card empire, as a management trainee after graduating from Yale Law School. He moved up the ladder, becoming executive vice president, and now is a partner of Oldaker, Biden & Belair, a D.C. lawyer- lobbyist shop. In that capacity during 2003, he got a $100,000 annual retainer from MBNA to advise the company on "the Internet and privacy law."

As it turns out, MBNA is Senator Biden's biggest contributor. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Biden raised $147,700 from MBNA employees from 1999 to 2004. MBNA's ties to the Bidens might seem ironic since the firm is usually viewed as a big Republican campaign fundraiser and was George W. Bush's sixth-largest contributor during last year's presidential campaign, with a total of $356,350.

Additional reporting: Colin Gustafson, Michael Roston, and Isabel Huacuja

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