Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Jerry Moran calls his spot in a sweet D.C. town home a matter of faith

Posted By on Wed, Apr 7, 2010 at 2:20 PM

click to enlarge Moran defends his place at a sinners' retreat near the Capitol.
  • Moran defends his place at a sinners' retreat near the Capitol.

U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran hid behind the long, flowing robe of Jesus of Nazareth when asked about the hospitality he receives at the famed C Street house in Washington, D.C.

A student at Washburn University asked Moran about the C Street house on Tuesday. Operated by a secretive outfit called the Fellowship, the house provides meals and lodging to conservative Christian members of Congress. The house became a punch line when a number of the politicians associated with it were tarnished in sex scandals.

In February, a group of mainline ministers in Columbus, Ohio, asked the IRS to revoke the house's tax-exempt status out of concern an "exclusive residential club for powerful officials may be masquerading as a church." Last fall, the District of Columbia began taxing two-thirds of the property.

Moran lives at the C Street house when he's in Washington. On April 1, Citizens for Responsible Ethics in Washington (CREW) added his name to complaint filed with the Office of Congressional Ethics. CREW wants an investigation to determine if the lawmakers accepted below-market rent, a possible violation of gift rules. (The C Street house is valued at $1.8 million.)

click to enlarge Brownback says C Street complaints are "baseless."
  • Brownback says C Street complaints are "baseless."
Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, a former C Streeter whose place in the Senate Moran hopes to take, was named in a separate complaint filed with the Senate's Select Committee on Ethics. Through a spokesman, Brownback called the complaint "baseless."

In making his defense, Moran went the persecution route. He said the complaint reflected "a national effort to exclude matters of faith by public servants," according to the Topeka Capital-Journal

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