October 30 2004, 2:29 PM
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a Washington-based watchdog group, has asked the Department of Justice Public Integrity Section to investigate Colorado Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave. The group believes that Musgrave illegally allowed her re-election campaign to be run out of her congressional district office.
...federal criminal law prohibits members of congress from soliciting campaign contributions from district offices so if contributions are being solicited from and sent to the district office, Rep. Musgrave is in violation of the law. In addition, Sloan questioned whether the two offices actually have separate staff. If not, Cong. Musgrave might be in violation of other laws including the prohibition on soliciting contributions from employees and of theft of government property for having employees work on campaign activities while on government time.A copy of CREW's letter is here (pdf). Meanwhile, Musgrave's opponent, Stan Matsunaka, has written to Musgrave's campaign asking for the lease information on both her campaign and congressional offices.
Matsunaka wants Musgrave to publicly produce the leases for her Loveland congressional office in suite 204, and her campaign office in suite 777. "Unfortunately, you cannot use congressional resources for campaign activity nor can you use campaign resources to pay for ... congressional office space," Matsunaka wrote in his letter. "Above all, you can neither solicit nor accept political contributions in a congressional office. "This office belongs to the people, it is not your personal property to convert to whatever purpose you choose," he stated.Though neither of Denver's daily newspapers have yet to pick on this story, it's receiving aggressive coverage from the smaller papers in the district. William R. Holland, publisher of the Fort Morgan Times, personally went to Musgrave's building in search of what he calls the "Ghost Suite":
Once at 5401 Stone Creek Circle, he expects to find a seven-story office building since the number 777 indicates that possibility. To the publisher's surprise, the building is only two stories.Holland searched the building, but was unable to find the mysterious Suite 777, even after consulting a floor plan that was hanging in the building.
Assuming Suite 777 has to be somewhere in the building -- maybe tucked away in a corner of the basement -- the publisher asks a receptionist if she could direct him to Suite 777.
The receptionist, with a look of confusion, says, "I'm not aware of any suite with that number in this building."