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6 congressmen live in house subsidized by religious group
Arizona Republic ^ | 4/21/03

Posted on 04/21/2003 6:45:29 AM PDT by areafiftyone

Edited on 05/07/2004 5:21:14 PM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]

WASHINGTON - Six members of Congress live in a $1.1 million Capitol Hill townhouse that is subsidized by a secretive religious organization, tax records show.

The lawmakers, all Christians, pay low rent to live in the stately red brick, three-story house on C Street, two blocks from the Capitol. It is maintained by a group alternately known as the "Fellowship" and the "Foundation" that brings together world leaders and elected officials through religion.


(Excerpt) Read more at azcentral.com ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: biblestudy; christian; conspiracy; crook; fellowship; misleading; phoney
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1 posted on 04/21/2003 6:45:29 AM PDT by areafiftyone
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To: areafiftyone
Its tenants dine together once a week to discuss religion in their daily lives. "We do have a Bible study," said DeMint, a Presbyterian who asked to move into the house less than a year ago when there was a vacancy. "Somebody'll share a verse or a thought, but mostly it's more of an accountability group to talk about things that are going on in our lives, and how we're dealing with them."

I did nine years in the big house (Catholic school.)

I’d pay $600 a month to not live in this place.

2 posted on 04/21/2003 6:48:51 AM PDT by dead
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To: areafiftyone
One of the most amusing things I've heard was the absolute demolition of Barry Lynn by James White on a debate about homosexuality.
3 posted on 04/21/2003 6:49:27 AM PDT by wideawake (Support our troops and their Commander-in-Chief)
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To: dead
LOL! Actually, as memory serves, $600 a month for a room in a private home is about the going rate in the Capital, isn't it? There's a bit of a cottage industry renting out basements and so forth there.

I'm not sure they're getting that much of a price break. If they're happy, who cares?

4 posted on 04/21/2003 6:52:48 AM PDT by TontoKowalski
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To: areafiftyone
Hey, not everyone is Hillary Clinton and therefore capable of commanding an 8 million dollar book advance and a 'loan' from Terry McCaulife to purchace a couple of houses, let alone furnish them with articles from the White House.

How about Stephanopoulous's deal that enabled him to purchase a Georgetown townhouse?

OTOH.........A number of congessmen like Dick Armey literally slept in their offices because the Washington area is so expensive.

5 posted on 04/21/2003 6:53:17 AM PDT by DoctorMichael ("Communists are Liberals in a hurry". ~Eleanor Roosevelt)
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To: areafiftyone
What a good idea! All for it. Only today in our upside down world would anyone consider such an arrangement "scandalous". Substitute: Brothel and subsidized by Playboy - and nobody would bat an eye....
6 posted on 04/21/2003 6:55:23 AM PDT by Freedom'sWorthIt
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To: TontoKowalski
$600 per month per room in a $1.1 million place? Yeah, they are getting a price break. I encourage you to try to find a room for rent in a place that costs that much, for $600 a month.
7 posted on 04/21/2003 6:56:14 AM PDT by dogbyte12 (.)
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To: areafiftyone
"What concerns people is when you mix religion, political power, and secrecy," Lynn said.

I'd like Lynn to illustrate how six people of both political parties, comprising 1.1% of the congressional membership, are in any way endangering the Republic. This appears to be a complete non-issue.

8 posted on 04/21/2003 6:56:32 AM PDT by Mr. Bird
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To: areafiftyone
"What concerns people is when you mix religion, political power, and secrecy," Lynn said.

And just exactly what is Lynn doing?

I don't know these congressmen, but I know several people very involved with the Fellowship. It is loosely organized for the purpose of ministry, not to influence public policy.

I lived in DC, worked on the Hill and attended church on the Hill for eight years. Pretty much the only way single people can live on the Hill is to share a house (even at Congressional salary levels).

There's no "story" here, other than Lynn's continual quest to stir up trouble.

9 posted on 04/21/2003 7:01:46 AM PDT by Corin Stormhands (HHD, FRM, RFA)
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To: dogbyte12
I encourage you to try to find a room for rent in a place that costs that much, for $600 a month.

It's not that hard to contemplate, given that the building is a church. These guys are paying $600/month for a room. Their payments combined probably cover more than half the mortgage cost on the building, and the owners are probably restricted from turning a profit based on their status. This is not the big deal you presume it to be.

10 posted on 04/21/2003 7:02:01 AM PDT by Mr. Bird
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To: DoctorMichael
Personally I couldn't care less where the congressmen sleep. They can sleep in a homeless shelter for all I care. It is this part that irks me!

It organizes the annual National Prayer Breakfast attended by the president, members of Congress and dignitaries from around the world. The group leaves its name off the program, even though it spent $924,373 to host the event in 2001, according to the most recent available IRS records, and pays travel expenses for foreign officials to attend.

11 posted on 04/21/2003 7:02:09 AM PDT by areafiftyone (The U.N. needs a good Flush!)
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To: dead
My school wasn't Catholic, but it was private and religious.

I'm with you.
12 posted on 04/21/2003 7:03:21 AM PDT by Cathryn Crawford (Winning isn't everything, but losing is nothing.)
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To: areafiftyone
Rev. Barry Lynn, a United Church of Christ minister

I'd like to see his Statement of Faith. I'd also like to see his ordination papers. If he wrote a thesis, that might be worth a glance. Maybe a sermon or two.

If he's any indication, UCC ordinations must be available in boxes of Cracker Jacks.

Dan

13 posted on 04/21/2003 7:03:44 AM PDT by BibChr (LIBERALISM = choices without consequences)
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To: Mr. Bird
Here is my issue. I have no problem whatsoever with the religious faith of these congress members. However, issues relating to faith come up before congress.

Faith baised initiative ring a bell? That is just on the money side. How does this organization feel about it? Do they feel it's a good thing? Or are they like some conservative religious groups who believe that it is an unwelcome marriage between the feds and the church?

There is a money issue here. Opening up federal funds to faith baised ministries, could potentially create a lot of money for a large ministry.

If this was Ford, Microsoft, AT&T or any other group giving subsidized housing to members of congress, the issue would be alot clearer.

I do not like this. I do believe that $600 rent for a room in a $1.1 million spread is subsidized housing, and it needs to stop. I have no problem if these folks actually pay market rate and live there... no subsidies though. It's wrong.

14 posted on 04/21/2003 7:04:56 AM PDT by dogbyte12 (.)
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To: areafiftyone
Dear areafiftyone,

If I'm reading this right, the congressmen's rents are not being subsidized.

The townhouse has three floors, the first two of which are used by the organization that owns the house. The congressmen all appear to live in rooms on one floor.

The value of the home is placed at $1.1 million, by the author of the article. Housing prices in the Washington, DC area have risen dramatically in the past few years, and it would be fair to assume that the purchase price of the house was something less than $1.1 million. But for the sake of argument, let's say the current owners paid $1.1 million, and financed the entire amount (unlikely, but it is the worst case). Assuming an interest rate of 7.5% (I did a no-doc refinance in the fall for around 6.5%), the monthly mortgage amount here is about $7,700 per month. Property taxes are probably about $1,000 per month or less.

Thus, the owners of the property are receiving rent in the amount of $3,600 for one-third of a property costing about $8,700 per month. The break-even point for that one-third of the property is about $2,900 per month. The property's owners, even assuming the worst-case facts, have a positive cash flow on the part of the property that they rent out. If they have owned the property for a little while, then they likely paid substantially less, meaning that their positive cash flow is even greater. On this basis, it's hard to say that these rents are "subsidized". Thus, the underlying premise of the article is false.


sitetest
15 posted on 04/21/2003 7:09:16 AM PDT by sitetest
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To: areafiftyone
Didn't Barney Frank have to rent out some of his rooms a few years ago?
16 posted on 04/21/2003 7:12:24 AM PDT by ladyjane
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To: areafiftyone
That secrecy is unsettling to the Rev. Barry Lynn, a United Church of Christ minister who heads the watchdog group Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.

The AUSCS is as scabrous a group as Pax Christi and Barry Lynn manipulates history to serve his own ends. Since this is related to what I posted on another thread, I'll post it here:
Methodists, indeed any church, should be free to engage in political activities...but not with a tax exemption. This church needs to be audited for compliance with the "no politics" rules for their tax exemption.--NetValue

No church should be prevented from speaking on any matter, political or otherwise. Nor should its tax-exempt status depend on this. It never did before until relatively recently when, for political purposes, churches were throttled by making their ab initio tax exemption depend on keeping quiet about political matters. Le[earn] a bit more history on the subject, because in this area your net value is zero.--aruanan

Lest anyone should think I was way out of bounds with my final sentence and consider it to be a personal comment or a flame or a personal put-down when, as he may think, all we have is a difference of opinion:

No, I made no personal put-down, attack, or flame. Nor is our difference merely one of opinion. A difference of opinion is merely a difference in tastes--you like expresso roast, I prefer Ethiopian Sidamo--but a difference in matters of fact requires that someone be closer or farther from the truth. I described the content value of your observation in the historical context.

Tax exempt status of churches antedated Lyndon Johnson's successful attack on the First Amendment in 1954 when he introduced a bill requiring that all non-profit organizations refrain from "political speech" to maintain their tax-exempt status. It passed without debate. This was the beginning of the rape of the First Amendment. The recent campaign finance "reform" laws continued the assault. Of course, Johnson's action, like the more recent ones, was simply a politician using the power of government to protect his own personal interests. After his reelection it was discovered that he had done this to shut down a couple of non-profit, anti-communist Texas organizations that were opposing his primary re-election bid.

The sneaky thing in all this is the twisted logic used when folks claim that tax-exemption constitutes a funding of the organization and that whoever does the funding, the government in this case, should control the speech, "Hey, you want to say whatever you want to? Then give up your tax-exempt status." But church tax-exempt status doesn't originate in laws controlling not-for-profit organizations but came from the First Amendment. It was later that tax-exempt status was extended to non-church-related not-for-profit organizations; at first, in addition to churches, tax-exemption was enjoyed by "charitable" organizations that provided service to the poor or relief of poverty. Church organizations usually provided these services. Tax-exempt status was gradually extended to organizations said to be providing a "benefit" to the community.

But church tax-exempt status antedates all this as well as all the laws that were created to define and to govern not-for-profit organizations. Church tax-exempt status is not a creature of these regulations. It exists apart from them in the understanding that the First Amendment prohibition on Congress giving special treatment to one church over others also meant that Congress couldn't screw over one church over others and that the prohibition on Congress with regard to establishments of religion meant that it could neither levy taxes on churches nor prohibit their freedom of practice (which included their freedom of speech).

The attitude referenced above also assumes that free speech is something that one is granted by the government in exchange for the payment of taxes. This has never been the case. Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of the church, together with the consent of the governed, have been seen as the necessary conditions, not for a "democratic government", but for a free society. The government exists only for the purpose of protecting that society and for ensuring its continued freedom. This is why the current campaign finance reform laws and why Johnson's sneak attack on the Constitution [as well as the actions of Rev. Barry Lynn, et al] are literally an assault on that society whose liberty the government was instituted to protect.

Your take on the situation appeared to be in ignorance of its historical background. Because the tax-exempt status of churches antedated Johnson's conflating them with other non-profit organizations and because they, as any other organization, profit (as in newspapers) or non-profit (voluntary social action groups), had, ab initio, a First Amendment right to freedom of speech, your suggestion that they could say anything they wanted if they gave up their tax-exempt status was without either historical or Constitutional foundation. As such, it had a net value of zero.

17 posted on 04/21/2003 7:13:32 AM PDT by aruanan
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Comment #18 Removed by Moderator

To: sitetest
Thus, the underlying premise of the article is false.

How dare you bring truth into a matter as important as the so-called Constitutional separation of church and state?
19 posted on 04/21/2003 7:16:00 AM PDT by aruanan
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To: dogbyte12
Shall we look at each Congressman's Washington accomodations to make sure he's not paying lower-than-market-value rent to a well-heeled landlord. $600 may seem low but I can see where that might be reasonable given the potential lack of privacy that might be involved in such a house. (These don't sound like fully-furnished one or two bedroom apartments. Also, $1.1 million is not too much for assessed value, given that there are 6 tenants on a single floor.)
20 posted on 04/21/2003 7:17:48 AM PDT by AmishDude
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To: Miss Marple; Molly Pitcher; ohioWfan; Lorena; Iowa Granny
ping
21 posted on 04/21/2003 7:19:08 AM PDT by kayak (Pray for President Bush, our troops, and our nation!)
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Comment #22 Removed by Moderator

Comment #23 Removed by Moderator

To: ladyjane
Didn't Barney Frank have to rent out some of his rooms a few years ago?

Yeah, his roommate had to enter through the back door.

24 posted on 04/21/2003 7:24:54 AM PDT by tnlibertarian
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To: AmishDude
Well, let's just see then. Again, I have no particular bones about the group who owns the place, I just am uncomfortable with any group giving group rates to members of congress.

My concerns would be the same if they were like I said earlier, being put up in housing by IBM, UAW, NEA, AT&T, you name it.

Come to think of it, I am uncomfortable with it, even if it isn't subsidized at a discount rate. I don't like any organization with national business being the landlords of congress critters. I would be much more comfortable with a private individual without a direct connection to a large group being the person renting out to congress critters.

25 posted on 04/21/2003 7:25:10 AM PDT by dogbyte12 (.)
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To: areafiftyone
That secrecy is unsettling to the Rev. Barry Lynn, a United Church of Christ minister who heads the watchdog group Americans United for the Separation of Church and State

It's despicable for this moron to prance all over the TV and elsewhere pretending to be a religious leader. He is a religion hater. He wants religion practiced ONLY in the closet. He totally ignores the part of the 1st amendment HE doesn't like.

26 posted on 04/21/2003 7:25:25 AM PDT by Mister Baredog ((They wanted to kill 50,000 of us on 9/11, we will never forget!))
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To: areafiftyone
This is not news! It is just more sniping by the anti Christians on the left and right.

Here is some real news that the left and right should be up in arms about some housing in the DC area!

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/895719/posts

Movers & Shakers Daschle Does D.C.

Who's buying, who's selling in the world of high-end real estate:


Minority Leader Livin' Large


The honorable(gag) gentleman from South Dakota.


Senator Tom Daschle may earn a meager salary of $171,900, but together with lobbyist wife Linda, he's got enough to live large. The Daschles are currently under contract to buy a $2.25 million seven-bedroom house on Washington D.C.'s ritzy Foxhall Road, according to local sources. The property itself is described as a French country colonial home, with four stories, and a 12,855 square-foot yard with a heated pool. The home the Daschles are selling is a considerably more modest three-bedroom $739,000 townhouse.

So La Da$$hole is ready to buy a French Estate in DC and move in, and people have their BVDs uptight about 6 Christian Congressmen renting room to be able to stay in DC!

It is amazing how the Christian Haters and Jewish haters control the media and have a lapdog following.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/895719/posts

27 posted on 04/21/2003 7:26:16 AM PDT by Grampa Dave (Being a Monthly Donor to Free Republic is the Right Thing to do!)
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To: dogbyte12
This is my point. What about a large regional landlord? Heck, what about a person who rents out a house? Anyone in business has interests that are before Congress. Anyone.
28 posted on 04/21/2003 7:29:06 AM PDT by AmishDude
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To: areafiftyone
It is this part that irks me!

What irks you? They aren't spending your money. Got something against a prayer breakfast?

29 posted on 04/21/2003 7:29:39 AM PDT by Mister Baredog ((They wanted to kill 50,000 of us on 9/11, we will never forget!))
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To: areafiftyone
"What concerns people is when you mix religion, political power, and secrecy," Lynn said.

When a president keeps foreign leaders waiting in the Rose Garden while he does the nasty it's considered his private life, yet when a few men pray together AFTER work, their private life is a national crises? Huh?

30 posted on 04/21/2003 7:31:11 AM PDT by concerned about politics (Anti-American protestors are inbread liberal Notsosmartso's.)
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To: dogbyte12
$600 per month per room in a $1.1 million place? Yeah, they are getting a price break. I encourage you to try to find a room for rent in a place that costs that much, for $600 a month.

Um. How many people are renting at $600 per month? If there are 6 congressmen in various rooms/apartments in that building, that's $3600 per month. That seems reasonable.

31 posted on 04/21/2003 7:32:34 AM PDT by Theo
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To: areafiftyone
"The Fellowship," just so people know, is the group behind the National Prayer Breakfast, officially hosted every year by members of Congress but really organized by these guys. The President always attends, as do many congressmen and foreign dignitaries. My Dad has been loosly affiliated with them for many years--they are about the nicest, kindest, most welcoming (and scrupulously apolitical) group of evangelical Christians around. They help organize bible study groups among busy politicians--very purpously bi-partisan--and do absolutely no lobbying.

It's amazing that such a benign group can raise any hackles at all--but proves to me again that "spiritual warfare" is real.

God bless these guys--they'd appreciate your prayers FReepers....
32 posted on 04/21/2003 7:33:20 AM PDT by AnalogReigns
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To: Corin Stormhands
For years liberal members of Congress have lived in, and liberal organizations, such as the Washington office of Nation, have been in a building owned by the United Methodist Church in a building across from the Capitol on one side and the Supreme Court on the other. Have Barry Lynn or any others ever investigated this? Of course not.
33 posted on 04/21/2003 7:34:05 AM PDT by AmericanVictory
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To: Corin Stormhands
This is indeed vey series. To think that grown ups would be sharing a boarding house while serving in Congress AND would also have connections to religeous groups with sound morals and good intentions. How can this continue?
34 posted on 04/21/2003 7:35:34 AM PDT by showme_the_Glory (No more rhyming, and I mean it! ..Anybody got a peanut.....)
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To: dogbyte12
I do believe that $600 rent for a room in a $1.1 million spread is subsidized housing, and it needs to stop.

I know you wrote that before I wrote my response to your earlier posting. You see where you missed some facts, right? -- that they're paying at least $3600 per month for rooms in that building, not $600?

35 posted on 04/21/2003 7:35:50 AM PDT by Theo
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To: areafiftyone
If the resident Congressman were speaking publicly about the effect of religion on their lives this "watchdog" would complain, also. What he is really saying is that he doesn't want any "Christians" in congress. I put quotes on Christians because I am sure that this minister of the United Church of Christ thinks of himself as a Christian, but his church is probably more appropriately called the United Church of the anti-Christ.
36 posted on 04/21/2003 7:38:34 AM PDT by Eva
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To: dogbyte12
I do not like this. I do believe that $600 rent for a room in a $1.1 million spread is subsidized housing...

$600 x 6 is $3,600 a month. And no, for a room on Capital Hill, it is not subsidized housing.

37 posted on 04/21/2003 7:39:35 AM PDT by Corin Stormhands (HHD, FRM, RFA)
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To: dogbyte12
Come to think of it, I am uncomfortable with it, even if it isn't subsidized at a discount rate. I don't like any organization with national business being the landlords of congress critters

You can't avoid it in D.C. For cryin' out loud, The Watergate (Bob Dole's home for all those years) is owned by a Swiss corporation that is obviously impacted by U.S. legislation.

38 posted on 04/21/2003 7:43:03 AM PDT by Mr. Bird
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To: areafiftyone
"What concerns people is when you mix religion, political power, and secrecy," Lynn said

What concerns me is Lynn's witchunting of Christians. What concerns me is Lynn's tax exempt organization whose sole mission is to undermine morality and democracy. What concerns me is Lynn's psychopathic single minded anger at Christians while ignoring every other religious faith - including that ideology called Islam.

39 posted on 04/21/2003 7:43:55 AM PDT by eleni121
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To: wideawake
One of the most amusing things I've heard was the absolute demolition of Barry Lynn by James White on a debate about homosexuality.

Tell me more...or do you have a link?

40 posted on 04/21/2003 7:44:47 AM PDT by nfldgirl
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To: BibChr
I'm of the opinion that much of Mr. Barry Lynn's "fruit" is rotten...therefore I think I "know" him.

Best FRegards,

41 posted on 04/21/2003 7:45:51 AM PDT by Osage Orange (Dangerous Jesus Lover)
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To: Corin Stormhands
fyi: A 1.1 Mil dollar townhouse on Capital Hill is probably less than 30 feet wide and maybe 3 floors tall--no palace by any means. 6 bedrooms in a place like that ain't living large at all.....in fact by most American's standards it would be slumming it--honest.

Real Estate prices in the nicer (safer)parts of DC are outrageous.

Take it from a DC area native.
42 posted on 04/21/2003 7:46:40 AM PDT by AnalogReigns
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To: Mr. Bird
Congressional Housing. Problem solved. Cut their salaries to finance housing for congress critters. Security would be better, and no conflicts while they are in Washington.

If it's good enough for the military, it's good enough for congress.

43 posted on 04/21/2003 7:46:53 AM PDT by dogbyte12 (.)
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To: AnalogReigns
I believe this Harper's article sheds a little more light.
44 posted on 04/21/2003 7:50:40 AM PDT by Sangamon Kid
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To: dogbyte12
I don't like any organization with national business being the landlords of congress critters.

The Fellowship doesn't have national business. The Fellowship is about following the cause of Christ and about ministering to those in leadership. There is NO political agenda. Unless you are familiar with those folks (as I am) it is difficult to understand.

For example, I am aware of a group of very prominent women (conservative Republican and liberal Democrat) who met on a regular basis for one purpose - to pray for Hillary Clinton. Granted they should've prayed harder, but that's another story.

Their husbands and sometimes they themselves were political adversaries. There was no agenda except for prayer.

That is the nature of the Fellowship. They are not influencing any political agenda through this house or through other means.

45 posted on 04/21/2003 7:51:04 AM PDT by Corin Stormhands (HHD, FRM, RFA)
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To: dogbyte12
My concerns would be the same if they were like I said earlier, being put up in housing by IBM, UAW, NEA, AT&T, you name it.

Welcome to the real world. All of these companies undoubtedly have nonprofit's that they sponsor who do far more than provide rentals to congressmen.

As long as stuff is fully disclosed I really don't care.

46 posted on 04/21/2003 7:52:46 AM PDT by VRWC_minion (Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and most are right)
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To: AnalogReigns
6 bedrooms in a place like that ain't living large at all.....

Agreed. I lived in a two-bedroom apartment in Arlington for 8 years. We couldn't afford the same on the hill.

47 posted on 04/21/2003 7:53:49 AM PDT by Corin Stormhands (HHD, FRM, RFA)
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To: AnalogReigns
Yeah, I used to wrok in the Capitol Building on the House Floor, there are several members who live in their offices, I know for sure John Hostettler of Indiana does, they make $135,000 a year, and they have to maintain 2 households, have a decent wardrobe, and support their families, they don't live lavish lifestyles
48 posted on 04/21/2003 7:55:20 AM PDT by ztiworoh
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To: dogbyte12
Congressional Housing. Problem solved. Cut their salaries to finance housing for congress critters. Security would be better, and no conflicts while they are in Washington. If it's good enough for the military, it's good enough for congress.

Typically, military bases aren't located on such expensive real estate. But again, this is really a non-issue. Renting a home in the District is something nearly all members need to do. Restricting where or how they live would be like requiring them to drive the same type of car, or eat the same food. You don't want to disconnect them from the real world, like you do the military. You want them to deal with at least some of the every day nuances of being an American.

49 posted on 04/21/2003 7:55:29 AM PDT by Mr. Bird
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To: areafiftyone
I say they all move out and rent market rate rooms from a building owned by the Masons. That'll stir the tinfoil pot...
50 posted on 04/21/2003 7:57:45 AM PDT by Diddle E. Squat
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