National Ethics Group Details Family Affairs In U.S. Congress

An investigative ethics watchdog group released a report today detailing what it says is a premier analysis of U.S. Senate members misusing their power to financially benefit themselves and members of their families.

Both Colorado Senators are named in the report, published today by the national organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) in Washington, D.C.According to the study, which examined campaign committee disclosure records from 2001 to 2006, Colorado Sen. Wayne Allard is listed as the top Senate contributor in the country for family reimbursements, giving a total of $49,931.97.

CREW outlines some of the expenditures in the report:

In 2006, The Changing Tide PAC, [an Allard leadership PAC], paid Sen. Allard’s daughter, Cheryl Smith, $4,550.00 in salary. Wayne Allard for United States Senate Committee also paid Ms. Smith a salary totaling $6,500.00 in 2006. In total Ms. Smith was paid $11,050.00.

In 2005, The Changing Tide PAC paid Ms. Smith a salary of $2,800.00.8 Also in 2005, Wayne Allard for United States Senate Committee paid Ms. Smith a salary of $4,500.00.9 In total for that year Ms. Smith was paid $7,300.00.

In 2004, Wayne Allard for United States Senate Committee paid Ms. Smith $4,500.00 in fees.

Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar was also noted to have given money to family members and himself, although not at the same level as Allard:

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at