House members move offices, costing taxpayers money

by: Scott MacFarlane Updated:

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - The nation is on the brink of an economic crisis, but the U.S. House floor is empty Friday night.

Congressional members are running home for a long weekend.

Behind the scenes, the hallways are bustling.

Eyewitness News learned 200 House members are swapping office space.

In some cases, moves have to be made. Someone needs to take over retiring congresswoman Sue Myrick's space.

One other senior congresswoman told Eyewitness News she's moving for a prettier view of the Capitol.

Another wanted a shorter walk to his committee hearings.

Staffers say some want offices with more stature.

When Eyewitness News started digging into all of these office moves, a reporter found they're likely costing a lot of taxpayer money. There are 6,000 pieces of furniture in the U.S. House offices.

When members of Congress move, the furniture doesn't remain behind. The furniture goes with them, which means a lot of manpower and a lot of time spent on office switches.

The National Taxpayers Union said it'll cost $600,000 this month alone.

"One wonders if it's right to spend money to move congressman so-and-so down the hall, three offices down the hall, so he can feel better about his new position," said Christopher Farrell with Judicial Watch.

Often, it's local congressional staffers spending work time boxing up the items.

House leaders even stage an elaborate lottery contest to divvy out the first choice of office space. Members of Congress actually attend in person.

Ohio congressman Jim Renacci says he's staying put, in part to avoid burning tax money in the process.