Democrats claim Bruce Poliquin's office bed is an abuse of taxpayer funds


An ethics complaint filed by 30 Democrats in the U.S. House claims their colleagues who sleep in their government offices are abusing taxpayer funds to give themselves free housing in the nation’s capital.

One of the members who spends his nights in Washington in his office is U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, a two-term Republican from Maine’s 2nd District.

At least one of his Democratic opponents — Islesboro bookstore owner Craig Olson — agrees that Poliquin should stop using his office as a bedroom.

“These members of Congress, including Mr. Poliquin, are enjoying an entitlement for which we are paying: free rent, a free cleaning service, free internet access,” Olson said. “Plus, I cannot imagine meeting with constituents where I also sleep.”

Poliquin, who has made no secret of his living arrangements in Washington, has touted the efficiency of sleeping in a pull-down bed that he bought and installed in his office in 2015. He takes showers at the House gym.

“(Poliquin) lives in Maine and works in his office during the week when he is in Washington, D.C., so he can focus all of his time working on behalf of the families of Maine’s 2nd Congressional District,” said Brendan Conley, Poliquin’s spokesman.


Poliquin “chooses to sleep in his office, without any additional costs or burdens to the taxpayer in any way, shape or form,” Conley said.

Poliquin bought a Murphy bed for his office. The company touts them as a way to provide “an extra bedroom when you need it, with the freedom of a functional space the rest of the year. It’s like adding a room to your home at a fraction of the cost.”

The ethics complaint questions “the legality and propriety of a significant number of members choosing to use their congressional offices as overnight lodging facilities.”

Signed mostly by members of the Congressional Black Caucus, the letter submitted to the House Ethics Committee says members who sleep overnight in their offices “receive free lodging, free cable, free security, free cleaning services and utilize other utilities free of charge in direct violation of the ethics rules which prohibit official resources from being used for personal purposes.”

The letter also complains that staff members and House employees “are subjected to seeing and at times interacting with members in their sleeping attire, underwear and even partially nude,” which it calls “intimidating and offensive.”

Poliquin is one of dozens who stay in their offices overnight when they are in Washington. While many of those who do so are Republicans, there are also Democrats who do the same. Among the other House members who routinely sleep overnight in their offices is House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican and former GOP vice presidential nominee.

The majority of members of Congress own or rent apartments in Washington or its suburbs.

The ethics complaint, first reported by Politico on Tuesday, said that “continuing to maintain a personal residence in congressional offices, using congressional resources for personal use (such as water, phone, utilities, etc.) and increasing or interfering with the work of housekeeping and maintenance staff brings discredit to the House and blatantly violates House ethics rules.”

It also alleges that doing so “creates a hostile work environment for employees that work within the buildings.”

Those filing the complaint, who have not gotten a response from the ethics panel, said that “at a bare minimum” members who sleep in their offices “should be taxed at the fair market value of a Capitol Hill apartment,” the same way their parking spaces are taxed by the municipal government.

Olson said he has “always found the practice of Republican members sleeping in their offices since the Gingrich revolution in 1994 to be quite ridiculous.”

“It is a way to isolate oneself from colleagues and has certainly contributed to the hyper-partisan nature of our current Congress,” he said.

Olson said that if members “want to continue to sleep in their offices at our expense, they should reimburse the federal government for the cost of a one-bedroom D.C. apartment on Capitol Hill at market rate, with cable, cleaning service and gym membership added to that monthly cost for every month they serve in office.”

When U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin moved to a new office in December 2016 in the Longworth House Office Building, he brought his bed with him. His office released this picture of workers taking apart his Murphy bed to take it to the new location.

U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin (file photo)

  • Thomas Knight

    To expect the “moral right” to be ethical is a joke. They are the inhabitants of the swamp Trump wanted to drain. Most of the exodus from that swamp are the “drainers.” Go figure.

  • RussCase

    I just can’t believe the extent that Democrats will go to attack the Republicans. Your down there to do our work not this BS. As Belichick would say “Do Your Job”

    • Jon Mennealy

      This complaint is not only about Republicans – there are Democratic Representatives doing this, also. As inane as it sounds, I think they do have a point. Would it be OK for a school principal to set up a mini apartment in his or her office? Or a police chief? Fire Chief? How about a mayor?
      I’m pretty sure those individuals would get the same type of complaints.

      • marc

        republicans and democrats are both doing it but the complaint was only against republicans. hypocrite much?all politicians are crooks and only interested in filling there own pockets

        • Midnight Tree Bandit

          Yes, the complaint should have named both. However, I doubt the petitioners are dumb enough to think only the Republican representatives will have to answer for it.

    • Disqus1965

      That wouldn’t be as much fun as posturing for the cameras and finding lame things to complain about, like this silly stuff.

      If they did their real jobs, they would have to do the hard reading and research, and focus on the boring details of actual government. They’d rather get their silly faces on TV.

    • KS

      Dems? Did you read your post? NEWS FlASH…Both side do it so quit your whining.

  • bstone04210

    Scraping off the bottom of the barrel are the Dems. When Bruce is cutting z’s, his staff has probably exited the office so it impairs his performance at a rate of 0%. I’d rather have him snoring in his office than making “waitress sandwiches” in bars like Teddy Kennedy D-MA) and Chris Dodd (D-CT) did when they wandered around D.C. drunker than proverbial skunks.

  • CruiserSailor

    With a salary of $174,000 a year I think our do nothing Congressman could afford to live off campus.

    • Clifford Warren

      Have you ever lived in the D.C Metropolitan area? Care to take a guess how much it costs? Meanwhile, House Representatives and Senators on both sides of the aisle have to maintain a residence in their HOME state, otherwise they are ineligible to serve as a representative of the state in which they “reside”.

      Having lived in the D.C. area almost 20 years ago, a one bedroom apartment in the burbs, some hour away STARTED at well over $1000 a month, not including utilities and that was almost 20 years ago. How far do you exactly think 175k a year goes when you have to both maintain a residence in your home state and one in the D.C. area?

      To my mind, as many of their travel expenses are paid for as are other expenses, if it cuts the cost of travel, security and the necessity to maintain two places of residence, so be it. To me, having to sleep in your office would be considered an inconvenient part of the job. How many here would like to be available ALL THE TIME in their office at work? Raise your hands… I’ll wait.

      Incidentally, this practice is something that both Democrat and Republican representatives do. Frankly, if I had any objection to it, it would be that it’s unprofessional. But a violation of ethics? That’s a bit of a stretch considering, as I see it, they’re SAVING us money in other expenses.

      • CruiserSailor

        Let’s say that apartment in the burbs is now $2,000 a month. That leaves $150,000 plus many perks for 138 Legislative days of work in DC. A nice hotel room for $150.00 a night while he’s in DC would run him $20,700 still leaving him with $153,300, not bad for a part time job. I absolutely agree, what’s good for the goose etc., and if it is deemed unethical for one it’s unethical for all.

      • Midnight Tree Bandit

        Don’t members of Congress also get a per diem for their time in DC? If they don’t, how is it saving taxpayers money if he is using his own money to get a lodgings in the DC area

        They don’t serve to make a profit, they serve because they want to serve the people. Or supposed to. And Waterville is not exactly a high priced area to live. Seriously, if $174k is not enough to rent a place in DC and pay a couple thousand a month on a house in Waterville (fun historical fact: in the past members of Congress have been known to share aopartments or houses in order to save housing costs). Besides which, wasn’t he some super successful financial genius in his business life? I doubt he’s going to go bakrupt any time soon.

        I don’t care that both Republicans and Democrats do it. No one should be using an office as a sleeping quarters.

      • FrankE

        I could maintain a home on just their meal stipends, add to that travel expenses and I could be living large.

  • H2OGuy

    This issue is just noise, someone is trying to stir up sh!t just to create noise (media noise). I would rather they stay in their offices rather than travel back and forth to home states or even to local expensive apts. I fully support Bruce using his office in whatever it takes to keep him there doing the job we sent him to Washington to do. I just wish I lived in CD-2 so I could vote for him every two years,

  • Martin Grohman

    I can tell you this, I would want a coffeemaker in my office too.

    • Disqus1965

      He has one… they all do. And electrical outlets, too. All the modern amenities. 🙂

  • disqus_lW5Wars68c

    This just in – the President lives in the White House. Where his office is. The horror!

    • Midnight Tree Bandit

      Because the White House is designed for it. Congressional offices are not.

    • Jon Mennealy

      That’s why it is called the “White House.” It’s a “house.”

      • disqus_lW5Wars68c

        That’s why the call the House of Representatives the “House.”

    • Thomas Knight

      The White House is a big barn with a stable genius in charge. After he leaves, there are wonderful challenges like Churchill Downs.

    • Disqus1965

      And this practice of sleeping in offices has been going on for many, many years. Both sides do it, and always have. It doesn’t hurt anyone, and it doesn’t cost the taxpayers any extra money. The Dems are out to lunch on this one.

  • Just another nothing burger from the Democrats.

  • Disqus1965

    Oh, my … more useless grandstanding from the DC Democrats. Petty complaints containing zero substance. Nothing of importance on which to focus? That’s how you can tell they’re floundering. This will go absolutely nowhere.